Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Day of Firsts

As a teacher, today was my first day of school with students. As a parent, I sent two children off to their own first days this morning.  As a teacher, it's an exciting, almost joyous day--a day filled with hope and newness and limitless possibilities. As a parent, it nearly brings me to tears. I don't like the word "bittersweet," but I can't think of no other word that fits these feelings. Watching my children grow up is a wondrous experience, but passing milestones such as this, particularly my son's first day of kindergarten today, can be downright gut-wrenching. Watching them grow up is like watching a miracle unfold before my eyes. But watching them grow up so fast sometimes is enough to make me struggle to catch my breath.

I tried to write a poem for each of the two children that I watched ride away on that school bus this morning. The one I wrote for my daughter, who turns 8 in October, is the one that is close enough to done to share with you today. My son's poem still needs some revision, but I'll share it soon. This poem for my daughter is a work in progress, and far from perfect and far from done, but I needed to post it to kind of get it off my chest.

No Looking Back or How I Know You're Not Little Anymore

for Annabel

I held your hand today
      and it wasn't tiny;
      it's closer now to
      filling my own.

That yellow beast
      ferries you away
      each morning and
      sometimes you don't
      stop to wave from the window.

You take showers.

You answered the phone
      when I called home one
      day and I barely
      recognized your voice.

I embarrassed you at
      that party Saturday when
      I danced in that silly
      way you used to love.

You told me so.


I am fairly certain I could go on and on and on. But I'll leave it at that for now. Don't worry, son, your poem is under construction. Oldest first!

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