September 3, 2008


I remember the first days of school well. I hated them. Maybe hate's a strong word but I wasn't very fond of them. I'm more of a routine sort of guy. While some thrive on the newness of a particular situation - like the first day of school - I like a situation to be lived in, broken in. So I was generally happy when the second week of school arrived. Not the first.

When I was in elementary school, my parents, recognizing my discomfort with the newness of each year, made a deal that if I made it through, they'd take me to the toystore to find something cool. Of course, I made it through which cinched a toy store visit where I invariably bought something like a phone.

(An aside: I was really obsessively into phones as a kid. I'm not sure why. Toy phones, real phones - I had to own them. When I went shopping, I always wanted to stop into the electronics stores to look at phones. When I was twelve I even rewired all the phones in our house from the lines that went straight into the walls to the actual jacks thus increasing the number and variety of phones which could be used in my childhood home. My parents were perplexed. I thought nothing of it. Of course, now, I hate talking on the phone so I figured I went overboard at an early age and the pendulum's just swung the opposite way.)

I mention this now because it seems like just yesterday I was trying to survive those first, early days of school in the hope of hitting a routine and, quite possibly, owning another phone. I mean, yesterday. But it's not. In fact this very day is Mia's first day of school.

How did this happen, people? This is not a rhetorical question. I want actual answers. My preschool...without us, her parents. I mean, I know she's got to get out of the house and we can't watch over her forever but there's a time for that and that time is her 30th birthday.

I was sitting at the preschool orientation last night and it was then that it hit me - my baby is not a baby anymore. To give myself some credit, I really haven't thought of her as an actual baby in quite some time. Especially since she started calling me "old man." But still, my precious little girl is entering a slice of the world that I can't inhabit, doing things I won't be doing with her and making friends I don't know. I'm not at all a control freak (okay, stop laughing - that's a lie) but I do feel like I'm giving her up a little bit. And while I'm happy that she's getting these opportunities, while I know it's the right thing for her, I can't help but selfishly miss the time up until now when it was just the three-then-four of us, before we unleashed the phenomenon that is Mia upon an unsuspecting world.

Hold me.

Posted by Chris at September 3, 2008 6:36 AM

There, there, Papa Bear. You knew it was just a matter of time. The most wonderful thing will happen though. One day she will call you and leap into your open arms, wanting all the safeness that she found when she was a baby.
But for today, hugs to you!!!

Posted by: Maribeth at September 3, 2008 7:26 AM

Oh, how well I remember that first day.... the assistant in the classroom took Sam by the hand and walked him over to show him the bunnies and the other teacher waved us out the door. We left and I cried a little. We went out for breakfast together and thought back over the years leading up to this day.

Every first day of school is bittersweet as you watch this little person become a not-so-little person. You and your wife have prepared precious Mia for this day in ways you can't fathom. She doesn't need you any less, either. The ways of needing change but they don't go away. Nothing can change that you are her daddy.


Posted by: Stephanie at September 3, 2008 7:49 AM

Been there, done that. If it's any consolation at all, kids in school is a very cool thing. Yes, you lose the baby thing, and the fact that you are their whole world. But they come back from school and they say such knowledgeable things, and they ask the greatest questions, and they just turn into even more amazing little people than they already were. It'll be great. Hugs to you, and a big high five to Mia on her big day!

Posted by: Alissa at September 3, 2008 8:15 AM

Part of the pain of it perhaps is knowing that no one ever in the whole universe will ever know them the way that I do. That's one half scary and one half comfort. It's three weeks in for my littlest and I'm still walking him in and then lingering at the door where I can see him sitting through a window and hovering there until somebody needs to come in and I'm forced to move on. Maybe look at it this way, it's like buying a book for someone that you've never read and starting to read it before you give it to them. But the day comes to give them the gift, but you aren't done reading. Know that you'll still get to read that book. But now you'll be sharing it. And there will be other people who will be discovering some of the same things that have made you light up. Those things that are Mia. The world will thank you for being such a good parent. For helping make her such a great kid.

Posted by: OS at September 3, 2008 8:22 AM

Though I cannot totally understand the first day of preschool, my son started a new big daycare today, whereas he was in an in-home place before, with a kindly elderly woman and the comfort of a house. It's good for kids to get out and do things on their own, I think. She'll be ok because you guys have given her such a good home life and background. Try not to worry too much. :)

Posted by: claire at September 3, 2008 8:33 AM

You know, I always read posts and wonder if there is something defective about me because I never felt that way with either of my kids. I type this as my first grader is outside waiting for the bus to take her to her second day. My three year old had her first day yesterday (only two days a week) and walked away from me and sat in the middle of circle time like she OWNED that circle and barely looked back at me.

It's that whole wing-spreading thing. Maybe I should be sad about all that stuff - but I guess I just feel ridiculously proud of my kids going out there and kicking the world's ass. I keep waiting for the milestone that makes me nostalgic and mournful, but it hasn't happened yet.

Maybe my heart is just made out of rocks.

Posted by: Sarah at September 3, 2008 8:34 AM

What a big day for Mia and your family. Hang in there and remember you're sending a wonderful little person out into this big world... and the world will be better because of it.

Posted by: Kate at September 3, 2008 8:46 AM

Aww. I have a feeling Mia's going to ace this, if that helps any.

Posted by: Fraulein N at September 3, 2008 9:00 AM

Awwww! Mila started kindergarten this year. It breaks my heart to see her walk in to school every day with her giant bookbag on her back. I want to chase after her and tell her that she's not ready to be without me, not ready to get her little lunch on a tray and sit and eat at a table with her peers, not ready to walk down the "kinnygarten" hall all by herself, but I can't. I can't because I realize it's mommy that's not ready for her to do all of those things.

Posted by: mymilabean at September 3, 2008 9:06 AM

Oh Chris, I would venture an answer but have not yet found a way to wrap my brain around the Preschool Situation which is also imminent in our house. I took Lady out for a last little bit of school shopping yesterday, complete with little velcro sneakers so that I know she'll be able to get them back on all by herself (*sob!*).

I don't actually have to turn her over until September 15th though, so I have about a week and a half left to hug her, and squish her, and generally embarrass her with all of the weeping about growing up.

(can't wait to hear how Mia likes school!!)

Posted by: chatty cricket at September 3, 2008 9:06 AM


You were obsessed with phones, but wouldn't let Beth buy you an iPhone for your birthday?! Or was that someone else?

Posted by: Maria at September 3, 2008 9:44 AM

I feel completely safe to admit here that we haven't brought Monkey to preschool this week but are postponing it another 3 weeks, until after our vacation. It really had little to do with our vacation though :)

Posted by: Nadine at September 3, 2008 10:18 AM

You're not related to my husband by any chance are you? As a child, he was rewarded for good behaviour on an outing by being given an instruction manual for a vacuum cleaner. And he was over the moon with it. He likes phones too.

Posted by: Loth at September 3, 2008 10:37 AM

AWWWWWW! I bet she was really cute.

Posted by: Mr Lady at September 3, 2008 10:50 AM

Usually it's the kid who cries on the first day of school. Admit it, YOU cried when you walked away, didn't you?

Posted by: oakley at September 3, 2008 11:08 AM

... and it doesn't stop there. Zac is getting ready to join a junior golf tour and they've told us that there are no spectators (read: parents) allowed on the course for some of their tournaments. I'm thinking to myself, "but who's going to help him not loose his cool ... who's going to help him have a good attitude ... who's ... " you get the point I'm sure.

I STILL have a hard time not being there for every bit and he's 13 years old, taller than me and has a much deeper voice these days.

Posted by: Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer at September 3, 2008 11:09 AM

Happy for Mia. Hugs for you and Beth. Harley loved preschool if that helps any. Preschool is fun.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at September 3, 2008 11:20 AM

There, there. It'll be ok!
Also, "and that time is her 30th birthday." Teehee. Sounds like just about every daddy I know!

Posted by: Heather at September 3, 2008 1:51 PM

Welcome to the club. The "helicopter parent" club. Look it up.

My son got his learner's permit to drive three days ago and I sat staring at my cubicle wall for hours in disbelief.

Drive? Go places I don't know about? Go places without someone (meaning ME) taking him?

Posted by: Kristy at September 3, 2008 2:15 PM

You're a wonderful father. Don't ever forget that. Even when the screaming teenager tantrums come. You're a wonderful dad.

Posted by: k8 at September 3, 2008 4:42 PM

Just think: You're sending a wonderful little person out into the world. Preschool will be so great for you all. Wait until she starts coming home with all this new knowledge she'll want to share with you. You and Beth have taught her well, she is ready for this.

Posted by: Dianna at September 3, 2008 11:52 PM

Awwwwww! So, how'd it go??? Where's the standard first day of school pictures?

I hope that Mia's first day (and subsequent days) are as good as my son's experience was (so many moons ago).

Posted by: coolchick at September 4, 2008 6:37 AM

awww, it sounds like you're an amazing dad :)

Posted by: La Petite Belle at September 4, 2008 6:29 PM