24 years ago this month, I sent my oldest child off to her first day of kindergarten. Yesterday, I sent my youngest daughter off to her first day of her senior year of high school.
Yesterday was my last first day of school.
Yes, there’s still college, but that’s not the same. No more first day of school photos on the front porch, no more endless forms to fill out (I won’t miss that part), no more school-supply shopping ( I will miss that), no more anticipation as we wait for school schedules and teacher assignments.
I confess, it feels a little weird and I am slightly more teary than I thought I would be at this point. Admittedly, I am saving some of those tears for next month when I deliver child #3 to a university 600 miles from home. But it feels strange to think that this will be largely a year of lasts. I will cheer on one of my children in a marching band competition for the last time. I will hear her sing in the choir concert for the last time. It will be our last high school play and, finally, our last high school awards banquets and our last high school graduation.
After this year, my life will change immeasurably. I will no longer mark time by the school calendar. Winter break and spring break and the end and beginning of each school year will simply be abstract dates noted in passing. They will no longer rule my life and my calendar.
I am sure I will miss those first days and last days. There has always been an energy and excitement about starting school. New teachers, new classes, new friends, new adventures. I will miss their excitement and anticipation and apprehension. I will miss them coming home every day to tell me all about what happened at school. I might even miss projects and field trips and auditions and homework (but just a wee little bit on the homework). I will miss the feeling that I am constantly needed.
It has been an adventure for me as well. From tiny little kindergartners, I have been so blessed and privilege to share their journey to this point. I have loved watching them grow and seeing the amazing and interesting people they are growing into. I think that is the part I will miss most of all.
And now I need to go find that tissue box after all.