what you say to your daughter the night before her first day of school.

Mya sobbed tonight. Not the pathetic boo-hoo-hoo I get all too often, but the real getchawhereithurts kind of cry. She is insanely nervous about starting school tomorrow. I'm not exactly sure why since she thrived so much last year in her preschool, but she has a lot going on in her heart and mind right now.

Tomorrow Mya will be attending a real elementary school. She missed the kindergarten cutoff but has been placed in the kindergarten class anyway because they needed more kids to fill the classroom. So the class is combined with 17 kinders and 10 pre-kinders. She missed the cutoff by nine days. I'm still a little bummed that she'll be repeating this class next year, but I decided to tuck those worries away for another day and focus on this year.

Her new elementary school is not all that new. It is actually quite old. It looks it too. It's light blue paint is flaking in every corner and the fat Mac computer sitting in a corner of her classroom brought me back to the Oregon Trail days of my youth. I took a tour of the school with Mya on Friday and although the school looked rather small to me, Mya felt the opposite. Tonight as I wiped away her tears, she said, "Mama, it's so big. I'm going to get lost. There are going to be big kids. I'm too small to go to school." I hadn't really thought about the school being big to her. I guess once you have almost twenty years of school under your belt, schools all just blend together.

So I looked at her golden, brown eyes and I said, "Oh baby, you are bigger than you think you are. And if you get lost, think it's an adventure and find your way back. And if you get scared, find someone who looks like mom and they will help you." After a few more minutes and some more talk about make believe princess school, she seemed content and calm. She fell asleep soon after.


One of my most vivid memories of my childhood is from the night before my first day of kindergarten. I, unlike Mya, was so excited for school. I had planned my outfit days in advance. I still remember my shirt had a picture of a little girl in a neon dress carrying a bag. I had a terrible haircut and a pair of thick pink glasses framing my face. I set my outfit out on a chair before bed but couldn't contain my excitement and woke up at three in the morning to put my outfit on and go back to bed. I still remember my mom's expression the next morning.

I loved school. I loved my teachers. I loved homework. I loved it all. Well, until I was a sophomore in high school. And then I just tolerated it. And let's not talk about college. I was always a good student even if I had a rather sketchy attendance policy firmly etched in my brain by my last semester of college. I hope to instill my love of learning in my girls. I hope to find it again myself.

Oh school...how you've been missed.

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