MamaBlogger365 – Back to School by Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller

Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 6:30 A.M. I woke up my five-year-old with a gentle hug. “Rise and shine. It’s time to get ready for school.”

She had been looking forward to this day for a few years now, as she watched her siblings leave for school and come back every day. Now it was the dog’s turn to watch the kids all leave, forlorn, wishing she could go wherever they went all day.

She was so sweet and cheery all morning as she got ready. She wanted me in the same room with her as she got dressed, had breakfast, and brushed her teeth, although she needed no help doing those things. Yet she seemed to have no problem leaving me for the day.

Fortunately for all of us, she has two of her older siblings on the same bus with her, as they all attend the same Catholic school this year. So I had no concerns about her being on the bus by herself. The bus driver seemed like a very kind woman. Her older sister held her hand as she got on the bus. She helped her to buckle her seat belt, something we never had on the bus when I was little. She looked out the window at me, smiling, as the bus pulled away. I stood there, waving, until the bus disappeared down the block.

And I smiled. I never cried when my other kids went to school for the first time; I was always too busy with other little ones. I had thought I would be a little sad when my youngest one went, but I felt content. Not giddy, as in, “Oh I’m so happy to get rid of the kids so I can have some peace and quiet,” but satisfied that things were as they should be.

I really like how the Catholic schools start off the first week with half days. It really gives both the parents and the kids time to adjust to the new schedule. For me, I think it really made that first day a breeze.

I went inside, had my coffee and breakfast, then for a brief moment said to myself, “Now what?” Not that I didn’t have a ton of chores to tackle — I didn’t know where to start. “First things first,” I answered myself, and started by cleaning the floor. I proceeded to the most obvious things, and before I knew it I was rushing to finish up what I had started before the bus came back.

My husband missed her — as did the dog. Honey moped around the house, roaming from room to room, aimlessly going in and out the back door.

My eighth grader has a phone now, and she texted me so that I knew when to come outside and wait for the bus. My littlest one came back off the bus, smiling. The dog went crazy, jumping happily inside at the sight of the children.

I laugh when I think of the nosy cashier at King Kullen who commented last spring, “You’re not going to know what to do with yourself when she goes to Kindergarten.” I responded back to her, “I was thinking about taking up golf,” facetiously.I didn’t feel I needed to justify to her what I really was planning to do with my time: write full time, get the house in order, and do some home improvements.

Now we are almost done with September and I didn’t even notice when autumn had officially begun. Time just has a way of filling itself up, especially when you juggle multiple children, sports, volunteer activities, and freelance work. I have been in the kindergarten a few times, and am happy to see how well she is adjusting socially, emotionally, and academically to her new environment.

My life is full. My heart is full. My cup runneth over. To everything there is a season.

Bio: Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller is a regular contributor to Mamazina Magazine. She blogs at The Divine Gift of Motherhood.

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Photo credit: ferguson4848|MorgueFile

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