Tuesday, August 30, 2016

her first day of school

Though Ocean isn't only (or even predominantly) a Snowdrop story, there are certain days when my granddaughter figures so prominently in my psyche that you may as well call it her day here.

Today, marking her first day of school, is surely one such time.

You could say that nothing about this day is ordinary. Because I want to see Snowdrop prance off to school and because Ed, too, has an early morning commitment, I do not even bother trying to fit in a leisurely breakfast for the two of us.

I'm not involved (today or any other day) with the drop off of the little girl at school, but this morning I am at her house (oh so early!) just for a few minutes, camera in hand. I mean, schools will figure prominently in her life for years and years. And today marks the beginning of it all. We need a photo!

But in the end, which photo says it best?

In many ways, I like this one: I have just come in, she is fresh out of her bath, she knows the day is different and she is curious as to what's next.

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I try several times to take a photo of her with her (penguin!) backpack. Here's the first attempt.

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She takes it right off.

I show her her (penguin!) lunch pack. She seems rightly puzzled when I tell her it contains her (freshly cooked this morning by mom) lunch. What, am I to eat lunch now? Right after breakfast?

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She runs to the kitchen to confer with her mom about this.

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Ah, but it's time to go.

Let's try the back pack again.

I already told you I do not want something hanging on my back!

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And then she is distracted by the workers in big trucks who are fixing some power lines in the neighborhood.

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I suppose each one of us has a favorite photo of a child's first day of school. Or, if you're like me, you'll think that there isn't one that tells the story well and so you put up a few and end the series with this one, where the proud parents are walking with her to her new learning adventure. Ah, there's that Snowdrop grin!

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Back at the farmhouse, Ed has just sat down to slosh through some cereal...

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I resist the temptation to join him for this rushed bit of eating. Instead, after he takes off, I carry my own breakfast outside, to the porch...

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... and spend the next several hours catching up with everything that has fallen behind in the beautiful but crazy rush of travel, visits, and Snowdrop time.

But just a tad after the lunch hour, I am at Snowdrop's school, picking the girl up -- as will be my habit for the months ahead.

How was your day, little one?

Oh, that question asked a million times over by every parent and grandparent, receiving every imaginable answer in return! Will Snowdrop someday chat her way through a walk home? Will she think back, pick out the unusual, or the problematic, or the happy recollection and share it with whoever happens to ask?

Once school starts, a bit of control is handed to the child and you no longer know all that you might want to know about her day. But in these early years, you still get to exchange a quick word with the teacher. After answering a few questions (she's wet? she watered plants... how cool is that!), the teacher glanced over at Snowdrop and commented -- she's such a happy little girl!

At home, I swear Snowdrop seems more emboldened. In control. And yes, as before and as at school -- happy.

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But following this extraordinary adventure, she takes the longest nap I ever remember her taking.

Excitement, followed by recovery.  A perfect balance. A splendid beginning.