First days of school were bittersweet bygones for Mom

First Posted: 4:12 am - September 1st, 2015

Sandi McBride - Contributing Columnist

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I received a call from our granddaughter a while back that I was not really expecting. She had just completed her first day of high school (she is now a junior) and was calling to tell me all about her class schedule, the friends she had not seen for a while, her teachers.

I was pleased to learn that her first impression of her teachers was all thumbs-up. We spoke for about 15 minutes, then she asked to speak to her grandfather. What? Knowing how he hates to talk on the phone, I told her to hold on and went in search of him.

I told him that Arianna had asked to speak to him. So she regaled him with first-day high school high jinks (as though in my dotage I might leave out a detail). Then he was speaking to Michael, second son, and laughing at something he was telling. Mac says, “Here’s your mom, tell her about that,” and he thrust the phone in my direction.

So, Michael tells me how they dropped her off at the bus stop, then drove around the block to sit just out of her sight to wait for her to board her school bus. Michael told me that he was telling Anna (daughter-in-love) about how he felt the first time Arianna asked to go into school all alone, no mommy or daddy trailing behind to make sure she got into the right classroom. She was in first grade.

As he was talking to Anna, he had a meltdown. When they eventually arrived at work, one of his work friends asked about the red swollen eyes…and he told him “just having a bad morning.” But eventually he had to tell them how this sudden feeling of losing his baby girl had affected him. And as he related it to me, I had to laugh as I recalled my own meltdown episodes in my sons’ lives.

My major meltdown did not come with Wallace’s first day in kindergarten in Norfolk, Virginia. I still had a baby at home after all, and the nest might be feeling a tad roomier, but it was not really empty. Both of us waited at the bus stop that first afternoon to welcome the young fledgling back in.

He showed us the pictures he had drawn (even then his drawings were better than mine had ever been), about his teacher and about naptime.

Yes, naptime. I think he was glad for naptime.

Then that year flew by and the following year it was Michael’s turn to be initiated into the great schooltime experience. I watched him go into his first classroom, went to the car and cried as though my heart were broken.

Mac, who was at sea a good deal of the time, never got to go through these traumatic times. The Navy owes him so much for all he missed. But anyway, I cried for two days.

Then my good friend Patricia Roney took me by the shoulders and shook me. It was like a scene out of “Moonstruck” as she yelled, “Snap out of it! They will both be back at 2:30!”

It was like having cold water dashed in my face. Of course they would. Then she proceeded to talk of shopping without beggars (oh come on, you know what I mean…”I want” is always the first things out of their mouths when you hit a store). And off we went, shopping till nearly time for the school bus to arrive home.

I am so glad she didn’t remind me of the other firsts that would eventually bring me to tears — first day of high school, first day of college, first move away from home forever as they took wives…and the firstborn grandchild who even now was breaking my heart as she grew up and away from us.

Too soon grown, too soon gone.

Happy first day of school, you children of Chesterfield County. Don’t forget to tell your family all about it — it is a memory they will hold in their hearts forever.

Sandi McBride is a resident of Jefferson who blogs regularly and enjoys her garden and her furry and feathered friends. She is a wife and mother of two sons.


Sandi McBride

Contributing Columnist



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