Thursday, September 6, 2012

first day of school

In the still new hours of the morning
in the still fresh breaths of September
down the stairs, to the corner
with burgeoning packs on their backs
like little beasts of burden
The older brother
the younger sister
her first year in a new school
but, he's got it all under control
He won't tell her that he cares
but he won't let her get off at the wrong stop
he won't tease her today
like he taunts her within his brother's rights at home
The bus groans and swallows them whole
They are growing up
but their faces still look so diminutive behind the glass
Their mother watches them shrink to little smudges
until they could be anyone's kid on the bus
She thinks of the first day of pre-kindergarten
when they were still small enough to carry
It always feels funny to send them off into the world
and find faith that they will honor and be honored
they will be nurtured
they will be safe
they will learn
they will return
She holds the hand of the littlest one
too young to be at the mercy of other teachers
too young to understand why her siblings have abandoned her
She asks to ride the bus tomorrow
Someday, someday
Soon, soon
Mother and little one sit in a quiet house
the day is drawn out slowly
like the measured steps of a tortoise
until ache of absence slowly dissolves
into an embrace of the clamor and hubbub
of 3:00, the hour when they return

As I write this, the house is devoid of all drumming, squawking, disquietude except for the steady whirring of the oscillating fan in the other room and the intermittent sighs of The Dog on the floor. The Baby started her first day of daycare today. It had become increasingly apparent toward the end of the school year that she needed a little bit more than what I could offer her during the day. She said to me once, in a fit of frustration, "You are mean. You don't know how to play with me." She is in the best hands- she is in a lovely home next door to my mother's home- with three other children for company. Aside from my final semester when I was finishing my undergraduate work, I have never put my children in daycare. It is only two half days per week but I feel a little bit guilty about it as I do not have a good reason other than The Baby and I needed a little break. And my guilt is more inflated by the fact that she cried and screamed when I left her, " Don't leave me here!!!" I know she will be fine. She will be home soon enough.  I just need to get used to the sound of my own noise in a peaceful house.


  1. "Needing a little break" IS a very good reason to do it. You deserve it and she will grow to love it!

    1. I love you, Maria! :-)
      By the second day, she was ready to move into Ms. Linda's house. The highlight of my time alone was realizing that I could place an object on a surface and it wouldn't magically migrate around the house for 5 whole hours. It was very nice:-)

  2. Day care is a wonderful place where my kids learned to share, get along with others, and that there is more to life than being catered to by Mom! Good decision!

    1. Diana, so very true. She needs a place that is all her own. When I picked her up on Friday she was having a perfect two year old conversation with other two year olds over lunch. She told me, " I'm happy now."

  3. Wait until you startle yourself with your own farts. Freaked me out the first time it happened.

    Hey, you live in NY right? If I move to NY, can we hang?

    1. I haven't heard my own farts in years. So used to being trumped by others' bums.
      I live in Buffalo, NY (Western NY) Of course we can hang it you move to NY!