Today was the first day of school. The Schmoop (left, in his "awesome" Darth Vader backpack) started third grade, and my sassy girl the Schmoopette started kindergarten. It wasn't as emotional a morning as I expected, mostly because the Schmoopette didn't seem frightened, and because the Schmoop is an amazing older brother who helped her on the bus and told her exactly what to do. It was quite touching, actually, considering how combative those two can get with each other.
As I waved goodbye, I said a silent prayer for them to be strong, independent, enthusiastic learners this year. I want my son to continue to fall in love with books -- even if it means it's all Hogwarts and Greek mythology and silly boy-comics all the time here -- and to strengthen his friendships and to have a crush on his beautiful teacher. I want him to run and play and not feel like he has to be the most aggressive kid in P.E. or recess, because it's just not him, nor should it have to be. He is a sweet and cheerful kid. He's excited and empathetic and kind and once said he wished he could grow up and become a doctor so he could make his Abuela better. He is just a delightful son, and I couldn't get by (literally) without his help. What a blessing of an oldest child.
I want my daughter to learn to read, something she has struggled with but that I haven't pushed. I want her to stay confident and brassy (well, maybe not too brassy) and the social butterfly she's been since she was two. She will move mountains one day. She will make others fall to their knees in awe of her fiery spirit, her beauty and fierce intelligence.
I got emotional after they left, but not because I was worried about them. I cried, because I missed my mother. Unlike my sweet but a bit out-of-touch in-laws, she would not have needed to be called and TOLD it was their first day of school. Mami would've known. She would've been the one to buy the Schmoop his backpack or the Schmoopette her special first-day-of-school outfit. She would've been on the phone with me by 10AM to find out how their send-off went, and to make jokes about the kind of trouble the Schmoopette is going to cause me in the possibly very near future.
I think maybe it's time for me to attend a grief support group again if my grief is hijacking what's supposed to be a post about my children starting school. It's just that every milestone of theirs is also a reminder of a milestone Mami has missed. So when my husband arrived home and suggested we call his parents and fill them in on the kids' first day, I wasn't that interested. I didn't stop him, of course, but I got up and left the room. My kids are lucky to have grandparents on one side, but I selfishly can't stand that it's not my parents who the kids were calling.
This post was inspired by my volunteer participation in the Yahoo! Motherboard.