When You Hit Your 14th First Day of School

This is what you learn at 9 o’clock on the night before the first day of school.

She’s hungry. Even though she had a good dinner. And a snack. And a glass of water.
She’s not tired. Even though you’ve been getting her to bed at 8 p.m. for two solid weeks to be prepared for this night. And she got you up at an ungodly hour this morning with the plea to make her oatmeal because she’s “really, really lemon squeezy hungry.”

She’s hot. Even though the wacky weather has dipped the mercury much sooner than you would have liked.

She doesn’t like these jammies. They ride up in the tummy. Even though she picked them.

She needs you to sleep with her. Even though she kicks. And you haven’t slept in her bed with her since she was 2 1/2 and you nearly broke your back in two trying to fit into a toddler bed. At least she’s in a big girl bed now, but still, she kicks.

She is afraid that her friends won’t remember her. Even though she was bowling with them not two weeks before.

There it was. A mom just wants her to go to sleep because she knows she’ll deal with a bear in the morning if she doesn’t. A 6-year-old worries that her friends will have forgotten her.

When you’re 6 and say things like “really, really lemon squeezy hungry” and pick out the jammies that scream “super cool even if they don’t exactly stretch over my belly anymore,” people don’t tend to forget you. But she doesn’t know that yet. She knows only that she forgot her “friends forever” stuffed animals that were carted around for three or four straight months, replaced them with a new set of “friends forever” stuffed pals that are carted wherever we go (and I do mean wherever). She’ll forget this set — two Tiggers and a flamingo — in a few months too, but she doesn’t know that yet.

Just like the replaced the stuffed bears. And the bunny and Sesame Street character. The deer and bear. And so on. 

She’ll learn it all soon enough. Just look at me. My 14th first day of public school (12 years for me and her second), and I’m still learning.

What did you learn on the first day of school this year?

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