I hardly slept at all last night. First day of school today. Nerves, excitement, and adrenaline kept me up, as it always does.
Was I ready? Clean clothes, check. Organized backpacks, check. Lunches planned, ready to pack, check. Alarm set, check. Double-check.
At 2 a.m. I wondered idly if I should test Mitzi’s blood glucose level. I was up, why not? But I decided not to bother her. The levels have been good. No reason to think she was so low she could have a seizure or slip into a coma. Instead, I used the bathroom and had some orange juice.
My first alarm rang at 5:45 a.m. I ignored it. The second rang 10 minutes later. I got up, turned on the coffee pot, watched the news. Surely I had forgotten something?
A shower, then roused the kids. Even Ray got up earlier today to help with the bustle of Day One.
Everyone was ready a half an hour early. That will never happen again, but it’s nice to start the year off on the right on-time foot.
So they went, my third and second graders. I reminded Cooper to smile more and scowl less. I silently worried over his ticky finger twiddling that he does when he gets nervous, grateful that second graders don’t notice that sort of thing, grateful that it’s a finger tic and no longer the jaw popping thing he was doing last year.
I reminded Mitzi not to forget her diabetes kit at the end of the day. I silently worried that she wouldn’t eat what she was supposed to, when she was supposed to, grateful that the school nurse has tremendous experience with diabetic children, grateful that the school is small enough that nearly everyone knows who she is, what her condition is, and dozens of adult eyes will be watching out for her.
I am thrilled to be getting my quiet mornings back. Ellie starts kindergarten on Thursday; Joanna is back to 3-day-a-week preschool next Monday. I’ll have those occasional couple of hours to myself, and have very grand plans.
Still, I’m sad to see the summer go — not the heat or humidity, but the time. As always, I’m sorry we didn’t do more — we didn’t camp or finish all the science projects or hike or bike the Cape Cod Rail Trail. We didn’t swim nearly enough, and hardly had any s’mores. But I’m glad that my kids are able to amuse themselves during the unstructured, free summer days. They spent their days outside, without me, building forts and riding bikes and climbing trees and splashing in the blowup pool, fighting and falling down and helping each other up, just as me and my siblings did when we were young. I have no idea what my mother did when we were not with her — to a child, a parent out of sight is a parent out of mind. I’m sure my kids feel the same way.
A year older, a few more dozen steps away from me and Ray. Mitzi will turn nine in a few months. Conversations about sex and menstruation and peer pressure and more loom on our horizon. Soon after it will be Cooper’s turn for the talks, for surely she will tell him everything she knows.
Today, though, the morning clouds are swiftly burning away under the sun’s sharp heat. The air is soft with an early morning chill that will also fade by lunchtime. By now the kids are settled into their new classrooms among friends old and new.
A clean slate. Anything — everything — is possible. The first day of school.