Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Brand New First

Last year, about this time, I wrote about Brynna's last first day of Montessori. Today, was her first first day of elementary school. And this first, I can tell you, was different.

I remember her first day of Montessori, being nervous and a little jittery. Wanting her to have a great day, to be her best, to have fun and enjoy herself. And she was excited, too. Wearing a new dress, new shoes and a brand spankin' new hairbow, she got out of my car without a tear or hesitation. And although I was nervous, I also felt a sense of calm about where she was, that she would be taken care of, that she would find her way. That was the fall of 2007.

In three short years, I've completely lost my grip on reality.

In many ways, this first day of school was a lot like that one. A carefully chosen outfit, a jittery mom. If anything, Brynna was more laid back about this one than that one.

What was different was my reaction. As we pulled away, leaving my five year old baby on the sidewalk of an unfamiliar school, in the hands of an unfamiliar adult, left to navigate on her own, my chest tightened up and I found myself unable to breathe.

I am not being dramatic. I had an honest-to-God panic attack right there in the car. I did not expect that.

I'm not sure why it seems so different to me: the size of the school, the many, many cars in the car line, the blank check in her backpack for school lunches...

All day that feeling of panic has waxed and waned.

All day, just as I've calmed down and decided that she'll do just fine, I've thought of something else to panic about. Lunch. Recess. Reading out loud. Worksheets. Text books. Things that I took for granted about school for years, decades almost, but that we haven't had to deal with in Montessori.

Then my mantra begins. Reminding myself how independent she is, how strong, how charismatic. How she always does fine and she always gets along and how she only seems shy with me because it's safe.

And just as my breathing is returning to normal, I think of something else.

I'm sure that most moms go through this. I'm sure that it'll be fine, that SHE'LL be fine, but panic-at-the-disco, I just can't seem to catch my damn breath.

Pray for me, ya'll. I might not make it through elementary school.


Suze said...

Oh, Jessi, I'm sorry. I'm already feeling pangs about Daniel starting school a whole year from now. I'm sure Brynna will be fine. I mean, it's scary for everyone at first, right?

Mrs. Allroro said...

I'm sorry, too. How was her day? Better than yours, I hope.

Jessi said...

Thanks guys. She had a great first day. She loved, loved, loved school. and today was much, much less heart stompingly bad.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

I'm glad to hear today was better, and really glad to know she loved it. BTW - you aren't the first to have a panic attack on your child's first day of school. I sat in the parking lot at Jamie's school and cried and howled when I got back from walking him to his classroom. It took me a whole 20 minutes to calm down enough to drive home!