Archive for September, 2012

The Mitten Monster and other back-to-school magic


I was not at home to snap pictures of my daughter heading-off for her first day of first grade today. I was running around taking pictures of your kids. Well, maybe not yours specifically, but the greater you. I was playing photographer for the school district where I work, looking for that perfect Facebook shot. And I have to say, your kids were lookin’ good today, in their shiny new shoes (with room to grow) and their stiff backpacks – ready for a year’s worth of library books. They were very willing to show-off their toothless grins, big smiles paired with that tiny hint of anxiety. I tried to capture the squeals as older kids spotted their friends, taller since they hugged fair-well in the spring. I was feeling that ache that all moms feel when they can’t be there to cheer their kiddos on.

To distract myself, and to keep the weeping at bay, I considered the fun in the fact that I was taking pictures at the school where I started Kindergarten myself, years ago. It was a brand new school and my class was the first to go entirely though it. I don’t remember much from that first year, mostly visiting the nurse (I was one of those dreaded strep carriers) playing house at free time (wish I still loved to iron the way I did then) and losing every mitten I ever wore (to the mitten monster living in our cubby, of course). I do have the vaguest of memories of the girl who would one day become my oldest friend. I wanted to be her friend because I loved her dress, which might be the reason I chose most of my friends. This particular dress reminded me of Laura Ingalls, which meant it was awesome. I was all the more impressed to hear that her mom made it. I had no idea you could make a dress.

My memory of those first days may be a little foggy, but I do know that I managed to make a friend for a lifetime. A relationship which is, I realize now as an adult, as magical as the mitten monster himself. Although I couldn’t be there to hold my daughter’s hand as she walked through that big doorway today, I am wishing her every happiness school can bring. Especially, a friendship to hold her up and carry her through those wondrous childhood days, and beyond.


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