Ok, well - technically that starts the day before the first day of school. This is when we said our goodbyes to Michelle, our "other mother" who has kept the kids since they were born. This was tough. Granted, she lives only fifteen minutes away so we will still see her regularly I'm sure, but she has been an important part of our family. In those final moments, as we all stood outside, Monica released one of the Mylar balloons that Aunt Chelle was sending home with us.
"Monica, why did you do that?" I questioned, feeling that parental guilt of my child wasting someone else's money.
"I did it for love."
She said this with a peculiar (albeit over-the-top) sweetness and Michelle confessed that it was the little things like that that she would miss the most. I nodded in agreement. Monica, always eager to be part of adult conversations interrupted the moment of silence, "I knowwwww, you're gonna miss the little drama queen!"
So we all stood in the yard until the balloon was completely out of sight (this takes a while, by the way), gave all of our hugs and kisses and left - bound for the next big adventure.
Here was our video tribute for Michelle. I jacked as many pictures as I could from her Facebook albums and scoured my photo boxes for all of those she printed for me over the years. Mixed in with a few of our own memories, I hope this will always be a reminder of how much we love her!! (And ps - in real life it looks so much better than this... I'm so over trying to load videos to Blogger!!)
Well, as it turned out, we were bound for home, but you get the idea. This was a big school start this year since Blake would enter K5 and Monica would start first grade (or "real school" as she's been referring to it all summer). After bath time and a major fashion meltdown that evening, I tucked them in, said their prayers and then headed downstairs to say a few of my own with a cheap bottle of wine. I still can not believe that my babies are both in school.
The next morning I started at 5:30am. I wanted everything to be seamless and easy, nothing like the normal morning routine and this would give me an hour before they had to get up. Before I could finish getting myself ready, Blake strolled downstairs, dressed and ready with his hair already slicked into place and sat at the kitchen island. It was 6:04am.
"Well, hey buddy! Good morning! Are you ready? Are you excited?"
"Yes, ma'am," he answered sheepishly, nerves obviously starting to creep up on him.
He told me Monica was still sleeping and just sat there silently, watching me start breakfast. This kid is never quiet. So I asked what he wanted to eat, offering the grits and eggs, waffles, cereal, PopTarts, you name it... Nothing. He shook his head in refusal to everything I said, stating that his tummy "didn't feel too dood" and settled for a handful of grapes. Oh, my poor baby. I wanted to be able to take that nervousness away from him, I wanted to show him that everything was going to be just fine - but I guess it's these moments that shape who we are in the world.
When I went upstairs to get Monica, she awoke with a start. "Finally! Mommy, I kept waking up all night thinking - Is it morning YET? But no, it'd still be dark! Finally!! It's the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!"
Being the super-experienced school-goer, Monica hopped up and got ready fast. Scarfing down breakfast wasn't a problem for her and she was ready to go. I overestimated the time we would need, so we reviewed backpacks and lunch boxes before Brad picked us up.
When we got to the school, I really expected Blake to have a hard time. Then we walk him into his room and there are two kids crying. GREAT. That's really gonna help, I think to myself. But he doesn't feed off of them and sits down with a nervous grin that you wouldn't be able to wipe off that child's face. I tried to introduce myself and Blake to some of his tablemates, but apparently kindergartners don't feel much like talking on their first day.
There was a paper on his desk, and I suggested he write his name at the top. Blake grabbed a red crayon from the box beside him and, hands shaking, started making an "M". Brad leaned down and whispered that he probably should write his own name - and not Monica's - on the paper.
Freakin' precious. (You can click on the picture to see it up close!)
He looked up, still grinning and hurriedly scratched out his mistake. When we left him, I expected a little bit of a fight, but he was such a big boy. So scared but not for a second wanting anyone to see it.
Taking Monica to class was much easier on my emotions. She very naturally sat right down like she owned the place, but was still very shy. I noticed that as full of life as she is, it can take her a while to warm up to new people, and she is reluctant to be the first one to speak. I would have done the introductions like I did in Blake's room, but she had already informed me that I shouldn't do anything that could embarrass her.
So I stood ACROSS the classroom and took my pictures instead of right by her desk. I'm such a cool mom.
She was anxious for Brad and I to leave, but very willingly gave us the hugs and kisses goodbye. Thank God. I mean, she's not too big for that, right?
As we walked out of the school, I had expected to be upset. I watched as some of the other mothers wiped their eyes with the backs of their hands, one even sobbing on her way out the door. Not me. It was emotional, definitely, but I didn't feel like I was losing anything. Sure, I realize the baby days are over. But I am so proud of who Monica and Blake are and am so excited about the new adventures we will tackle together.
Well, after we get a little rest. That was a long day.
As Pete the Cat would say, "It's all good."