The First Day of School

My cousin is dScreen Shot 2016-08-23 at 8.12.16 AMropping her only child off at school today for the very first time.  I dedicate this post to her, and to moms everywhere who are bringing their little ones to school for the very first time xoxo.

 

Chris,

I know how nervous and overwhelmed with emotion you are right now.  Dropping your daughter off at school for the first time is a milestone – and a nightmare.

I could tell you that you’ll be upset but it won’t be that bad.  I could tell you the you won’t be thinking about her every minute of your day.  I could tell you that you won’t have the urge to call school, “just to check on her,” over a thousand times today.  But I’d be lying.

The first drop off is gut-wrenching.  It feels like your heart is being ripped out of your chest.  You will doubt every decision you have made – from the choice of the school all the way down to her first day outfit.  You will doubt yourself as a mother, asking yourself these questions, and many more, repeatedly:

  • How could I just hand my daughter off to TOTAL STRANGERS?
  • What if she gets hurt? Will they know how to calm her down?
  • What if she has to go the bathroom but is afraid to talk to the teacher and has an accident?
  • What if there’s an asshole bully in her class and he/she hurts her?

I wish I could take all these fears and anxieties away from you.  I’ve lived this scenarios three times over.  And the bottom line is this: IT’S HARD.  But hard is not bad, it’s just, well, hard.  There’s no away around it, only through it.  You’re experiencing another “rite of passage.” This is another step on your motherhood journey, a journey that you and Emma will walk together.  You will guide her on this journey.  But, sometimes, she will guide you.  She will help you discover strengths you didn’t know you had.  You will feel a love so deep that you think it’s the most it could ever be – and then it will grow even deeper.  She will teach you more about life than you can even fathom at this moment.

So the best advice I can pass on to you is to allow yourself to feel a sense of gratification today.  You grew this life in your body.  You taught her how to eat food with utensils, how to “go potty,” how to say please and thank you, and I know you taught her how to stand up for herself (old school Brooklyn style). YOU gave her all the skills she will need to succeed in school.  Be proud of the job you’ve done!

There will be tears, hers and yours.  But you will make it through.  I wish I could be there with you, to offer more support than this simple letter.  Just know that if I could be there, I’d be walking behind you with a box of tissues – and a big pitcher of sangria. 🙂

You will ROCK the first day drop off.  I know it.

Love you to the moon and back.

Love,
Anj

Hope

A simple, socially acceptable, four letter word.  Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.50.01 PMI probably use it more times a day (in my head alone) than I realize.  It’s much more powerful than a word like “wish.”  I’ve wished for many things in my life.  As a kid, I wished for tons of stuff: specific Christmas or birthday presents, a puppy, a boy to like me, to get a part in the school play….. This list is endless.  As I matured, I wished for more “practical” things: a passing grade in a difficult class, not getting caught coming home after curfew, not getting carded at the door of the bar. 🙂   But what sets hope apart from wish is that the word wish implies something that is unlikely or unattainable.  I’ve wished that my first husband hadn’t died.  I’ve even wished that he could somehow come back.  I’ve wished that my daughters would never experience the pain of heartbreak, whether from a boy or false friend.  I’ve wished that my parents would not get old and leave this world – and me.  All things that, while perhaps motivated by the greatest of intentions, are unlikely and unrealistic.  Which brings me back to hope.  Hope implies possibility, however small.  That’s why hope is powerful, because at your core, when you hope for something, you believe in the possibility of it becoming a reality.  Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of my greatest hopes:

  1. I hope that good will triumph over evil
  2. I hope that my children will know that I’ve tried my best, always, to be the best mother I knew how to be to them
  3. I hope that my older girls will keep the memory of their father alive for their children and grandchildren
  4. I hope that people learn that running away from a problem only makes it worse, not better
  5. I hope that someday peace will prevail on earth
  6. I hope that feeling true love is something that everyone gets to experience at least once in their lives, and that it is reciprocated
  7. I hope that people understand that their actions can often hurt other people, especially those they love, and that they take great care in avoiding it and making it right when it happens
  8. I hope my children recognize and appreciate the sacrifices that I’ve made for them – and that I’d do it all over again if I had to
  9. I hope my girls realize that who you are on the inside is more important than what other people see on the outside
  10. I hope all girls everywhere realize that obsessing over how much your body weighs is largely a waste of valuable time
  11. I hope that each of us recognizes that we have gifts to share with each other and the world, and that we use them to exact change and help others, in big and little ways
  12. I hope all the people I love know that my love is genuine, and though many of these people are gone from my life, my love for them will always remain
  13. I hope that humanity has the strength and the grace to face and take responsibility for their actions, and the wherewithal to do what is necessary, even when it seems impossible

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, reader (see what I did there? I added another hope).

What do you hope for?