By admin

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Categories: celebrant musings

First Day of School

Today is the first day of public school for our youngest grandchild, Aidan.  His mom just sent a photo of him in his class and he’s holding play dough and smiling, perhaps with a forced smile.  I remember the first day of kindergarten for his dad and his aunt.  They were momentous days.

I’m guessing that many remember that day for their own child.  This big transition for kids is equally emotion-fraught for parents.  Once formal school begins, home immediately is less of a presence in shaping who these children become.  Their peers and their teachers loom large in their lives and parents must trust that the path will be smooth.

I remember crying all the way home from the bus stop on that long ago day because a big yellow whale had swallowed my child alive.  I could feel the ripping of our connections and had not yet achieved that trust that helps move through this change.

Being involved as a school volunteer, going over notes and papers that come home, helping with homework, asking questions and being available as needed when questions arise, all support that child in his or her new life.  Providing a consistent schedule, healthy meals and snacks, prompt bedtimes and time away from television and computer are also important.  Families and home are the foundation for venturing out into the big world.  They are a safe harbor, and the better we can calm the environment, the easier it will be for everyone.

Looking back, I think a ritual would have helped me travel through this new door more easily.  Acknowledging the transition publicly in some symbolic way would have helped.  I felt the same about the days when our children left for college.  I remember walking down the hall and feeling like my firstborn had died when she left home.  Perhaps that sounds melodramatic, but it’s honestly how I felt.

Hopefully I will be able to provide tools for others who traverse this path.  This is my new work.