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  • Writer's pictureJessica McQuistin

An Unforgettable First Day of School

What are you going to do when your kids start school?

This is the question that's been bouncing around in between my ears for the last few months now. Sometimes uttered by caring friends or curious family members, other times by menacing inner-monster voices - aka inner critics, but menacing inner-monster has a better ring, don't you think? Besides, Andrew (my 4-year-old) would definitely give me a big thumbs up for mentioning monsters in this post. And now that he's not right by my side, he is taking up a huge chunk of my heart and mind.

This is a significant school year for our family, as Andrew (my baby) is starting junior kindergarten, which means both of our kids are in school now. Kate (6) is starting grade 1 which is also hard to believe.

The day before school started, Andrew came up to me in the kitchen and said, "Mom, I'm going to miss you when I'm at school." I told him I would miss him too and that I'd be looking forward to seeing him come home off the bus at the end of the day. I didn't bawl my eyes out right then and there, because I had lunches to pack and I was trying to look brave, but I thought to myself that I probably would have a big cry after watching him get onto the school bus and seeing it drive away.

Andrew used to stand on the sidewalk and blow kisses to his big sister as the school bus drove away. He blew kisses and blew kisses and blew kisses until the bus was completely out of sight. "When he gets on that bus," I thought to myself, "I'll be the one blowing kisses until the bus is out of sight."

But here I am writing this, on the first day of school, and I'm not bawling like I thought I would...Or jumping for joy like I also thought I might...I'm just sitting here, catching my breath and trying to finish my now-cold coffee. (And it's past 12:00pm!)

You see, the first day of school (Tuesday, September 7th for us) did not go at all as planned.

Kids' lunches were neatly packed, kids were fed breakfast and dressed into special first-day-of-school outfits (as in, clothes that aren't yet stained but likely will be by the time they come home), and teeth were brushed. My coffee was poured into my favourite reusable Starbucks travel cup. I was getting myself ready and the kids' excitement and rambunctiousness were quickly escalating. My shouts to "settle down" went ignored. Then I heard two sets of running footsteps, followed by a loud bonk, followed by Andrew's out-of-breath cry that means he's hurt. He ran up to the bathroom to find me and I started into my "this is why you shouldn't run in the house" speech when I realized he was bleeding. He had run into the railing and hit his head hard enough to cut it open. Since you can't put bandaids on top of hairy heads, and we're not wound experts, I took him to the hospital and my husband put Kate on the bus without Andrew and I. (I don't even know if anyone blew kisses and kisses and kisses!) A few very boring hours, a quick glue-job, and some Timbits later, I dropped Andrew off at school just in time for the first nutrition break.

So, what am I going to do when the kids go to school?

I'm going to start by trying to finish my coffee. And that's as far as I've figured it out for today.


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