In 18 years of being a student (counting college and grad school) and 10 years of being a teacher, I can't remember a time that I or another student was absent on the first day of school. The first day is meant to be a time for healthy, sun-kissed children, full of tales of summer fun, to catch up with friends and meet new teachers and students.
Clara has been counting down to the first day of Pre-K since nearly the first day of summer. I'm not kidding... EVERY DAY she would ask, "How many more days until Pre-K? Is summer over yet? Is it time for school yet? How many more sleeps until the first day of Pre-K?" I have never seen anyone more excited for school. And, now, here it is, the first day of school, and Clara is home sick.
First day of school photos were a big deal in our family. My siblings and I always stood in the same place, against the ranch panels of our house. We were able to see how much we grew from year to year by "how many panels" we had grown. When my mom made a 30th birthday book for me, she put every first day of school photo on a two-page centerspread. It was an awesome, if embarrassing, way to document my changes over the years from my dorky, too-big glasses in my fourth grade first day of school shot to my sky-high bangs in my trying-to-be-cool seventh grade photo.
In solidarity with years of my own first day photos, I actually tried to take a first day photo of Clara this morning even though she wasn't going to school! For about half an hour this morning, we thought she might make it, her fever was gone for more than 24 hours, her throat felt better, and so we went ahead and told her she could get dressed for school. By the time she was actually dressed, we heard her cough a dozen or more times, and decided that it was not wise for her to go to school. She needed another day to recover.
I thought for the sake of posterity, I would still take the photo. Not. A. Good. Idea.
I have several photos of my daughter, positioned on our front porch, just like her PreSchool first day photo (thinking ahead to the centerspread of first-day of school photos I might make for her some time), all dressed for her first day of school.... hysterically crying, as she jumped up and down in desperation, "I want to go to school!" Although I am a fan of photos in a blog, I think it would be too cruel to include these photos. So, this will be my first photo-less post.
Last week, I thought about writing a post about the first day of school. And it was meant to be quite different from today's post. The post I imagined writing was about first days of school and how as a teacher and student, I have now had 28 first days of school, and how each first day brings excitement... as well as some anxiety... for me.
I wanted to write about how Clara views her first day of school with absolute joy and pure excitement, not an ounce of anxiety. Whereas I could definitely be on board with a few more weeks (or months) of summer vacation, Clara literally can't wait for school to start. I hope this enthusiasm for education on her part will last. I can't help feeling sad for my little girl who literally couldn't wait for her first day of school and now had to miss it.