When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say,
"I used everything You gave me."
~Erma Bombeck

August 23, 2010

Mondays with Mom... First day of kindergarten

Me in kindergarten (circa 1976)

I often run into days when I think to myself, "Oh, I've got to call Mom and tell her about this!" Today is one of those days. My baby is starting kindergarten. Nikki is off on an adventure on the big yellow school bus. Part of me wants to cry. Where did those years go? I will miss my little side kick. Part of me sighs in relief. Though it was fun, a long hot summer is over. We have all had our fill of each other for now and it is time for each of us to do our own thing.

What would my Mama say about today? She would tell me how she and her friend planned to open a bottle of wine on the first day of school every year, even though they were not drinkers. My sister and I laughed at this... now, we relate! She would tell me how she watched me walk down a country road to wait for the bus by myself on my first day of kindergarten, adamant that I was a big girl and didn't want her to walk with me. She would tell me to savor my time alone, organize my house and our business and embrace the creative time I have so longed for... do something for me. She would tell me how she understands and how it will get easier, the first few days were the hardest.

As I watch Nikki step out into this big world, ready to conquer it in so many ways, I remember a poem, my mother put in my scrapbook...

I Trust You'll Treat Her Well
by Dan Valentine

World, I bequeath to you today one little girl in a crispy dress.. with two blue eyes...
and a happy laugh that ripples all day long,
and a batch of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.
I Trust You'll Treat Her Well.
She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning
and skipping off down the street to her first day at school.
And never again will she be completely mine...
Prim and proud, she'll wave a young and independent hand this morning,
and say goodbye and walk with little-lady steps to the nearby schoolhouse...

Gone will be the chattering little hoyden who lived only for play,
and gone will be the delightful little gamin
who roamed the yard like a proud princess with nary a care in her little world.

Now, she will learn to stand in lines...
and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called...
She will learn to tune her little-girl ears for the sound of school bells,
and for deadlines...

She will learn to giggle and gossip...
and to look at the ceiling in a disinterested way
when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue.

Now she will learn to be jealous...
and now she will learn how it is to feel hurt inside...
and now she will learn how not to cry.
No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day
and watch while an ant scurries across a crack in the sidewalk...

Or will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn
to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew.
Now she will worry about important things...like grades...
and what dresses to wear...and whose best friend is whose.
Now she will worry about the little boy who pulls her hair at recess time...
and staying after school...
and which little girls like which little boys...
And the magic of books and knowledge
will soon take the place of the magic of her blocks and dolls.

And she'll find her new heroes.
For five full years I've been her sage and Santa Claus...
her pal and playmate...
her parent and friend.
Now, alas, she'll learn to share her worship and adoration
with her teachers (which is only right).

No longer will her parents be the smartest,
and greatest in the world.
Today, when the first school bell rings,
she'll learn how it is to be a member of the group...
with all its privileges, and, of course, its disadvantages, too.

She'll learn in time that proper young ladies don't laugh out loud...
or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms...
or watch ants scurry across the cracks in a summer sidewalk...

Today, she'll begin to learn for the first time that all who smile at her
are not her friends.
That "the group" can be a demanding mistress...
and I'll stand on the porch and watch her start out
on the long, long journey to becoming a woman.

with two blue eyes,
a happy laugh that ripples all day long,
and a batch of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.



  1. Thanks alot Lanie... I needed to cry today... wait. NO I DIDN'T! Thank you for this sweet poem!

    Two weeks in and my Kindergartner has already been jealous and likes a boy and has had her feelings hurt.

    She has two blue eyes and a wore a crispy dress and has a batch of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs...


  2. A bottle of wine would have been a blessing after the first day of school that we had! :) Your Mom sounds like she was a wonderful woman. Thanks for sharing her with us! :)