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First Day in the First Grade

2013 August 28


Little D is starting first grade today.

I almost didn’t want to write about it because I feel like every “mom blogger” out there is writing about the first day of school and all the emotions that come along with it and I don’t want to be just another post about the same thing in your Bloglovin’ feed.

So this post is for me. And for her. But you can read along 😉

I am feeling particularly anxious about this transition for my girl.

She is moving from the safe, secure bubble of her little private preschool/kindergarten into a much bigger, open public school which will house hundreds of kids all the way up to grade five.

She will have a new teacher, a bigger classroom, her own desk, homework that actually matters, and the influence of so many new faces and voices and opinions, all bearing down on her.

For the first time in her life, really, she will be exposed to a world much bigger than any she has known thus far, without me by her side.

She will encounter mean girls and nice girls and boys who want to play ninjas with her and boys who won’t. She will not always be the best reader or the fastest runner or the popular one.

I worry, sadly, about safety and relative strangers and an exposed campus and all the ridiculous things that we have to worry about as parents these days.

I worry about bullying and peer pressure and lice.

But I won’t show her any of it. I won’t speak of it, or whisper of it with my husband (at least not while she’s awake), or give her 101 warnings as she marches into her first day.

Instead I will remember my year in the first grade.

I will remember Mrs. Ness, who was probably the toughest teacher I ever had, and who easily taught me the most.

I will remember the feeling of having my own desk, with my own textbooks that I was responsible for, all wrapped tightly in brown paper to keep them safe and sturdy.

I will remember school assemblies where I was in nothing but pure awe at all the kids running around, big and small, and how many of them eventually became friends and familiar faces.

I will remember the safety I felt in my little school. The principal who knew my name (and how to pronounce it), the scent of the library books as they cracked open for our curious eyes, the field of grass (the “Big Field”) we ran through without giving a thought to what lay beyond its fenced border.

And most of all, I will remember walking out of school in those first few days of grade one, straight into the safety of my waiting mother’s hand.

I will remember walking home with a heavy load of books in my new backpack, feeling that much closer to my older sister and her world all of a sudden.

I will remember the pride I took in reading and writing and math and science. The joy I felt when I learned something new. The excitement of everything I was able to experience.

I will remember how much I loved school and couldn’t wait to go back the next day.

12 Responses
  1. August 28, 2013

    I totally empathize!!! My son is going into 4th grade and while my experience with all of your worry has mostly passed, I remember what I felt like last year when he went to his Intermediate school! He’s definitely at more of an age where bullying is my prominent, but I’m hoping that because he’s known all of these kids since he was 5, that maybe it won’t be an issue just yet. I really hope your little girl has a great first day and a fantastic year in 1st grade!!! =)

    • WWGD permalink*
      August 28, 2013

      Ah, I was thinking about middle school, too. I guess the transitions never end for us mamas 😉

  2. Liz Duncan permalink
    August 28, 2013

    I really enjoyed your memories of first grade and I’m sure your daughter will have great memories as well. I’m sure school isn’t what it used to be, but hopefully your children and eventually mine will have other traditions and fun to take part in.

    • WWGD permalink*
      August 28, 2013

      Thanks, Liz! First day was a success, so the pressure is (somewhat) off 😉

  3. Missy permalink
    August 28, 2013

    Loved this post!

    • WWGD permalink*
      August 28, 2013

      Thank you! 🙂

  4. michelle permalink
    August 28, 2013

    Wonderful post!! It’s so nice to read (and realize/remember) that all of our worries as moms are the same. Keep up the great work!

    • WWGD permalink*
      August 28, 2013

      Thanks so much, Michelle!

  5. August 28, 2013

    My girl, who transitions so easily, has come home telling us she felt nervous. And yet, she goes right up to her new teacher each morning for a hug and a snuggle, standing there, curled into her. She tells us about her day brightly. She’s trying to find her place and understand this new, single-desked-world. And she can’t wait for homework.

  6. August 28, 2013

    but really i meant to add there that this post made me tear up with recognition, in your memories and the ones little d will make. thank you for writing it.

  7. September 8, 2013

    My daughter is starting her last year at her small private preschool and I’m dreading her big un-fancy public school next year. I wish I could afford to keep both my daughters in private school forever, but financially it doesn’t make sense. And we are blessed with a good-seeming public school option, so it’s worth a try. But this post made me feel less scared and lonely and somehow fortified that this year will be great and next year will be too. Thanks for sharing.

    • WWGD permalink*
      September 10, 2013

      This is exactly the same as our situation and I have to say, a few weeks in and I am feeling much better about everything than I anticipated. My girl is going to rock it, no matter where she goes. Am sure yours will do the same! 🙂

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