Monday, September 07, 2009

On the night before the first day of school


Dearest Katie May,

Tomorrow you start school. I'm telling myself it's not really school, it's really sort of preschool and really that's not much different than daycare and we've done daycare and so this is nothing.

But secretly I know. I do. I realize this is it. You're starting school. Five days a week you'll wake up grouchy and tired and do your tired sighs and wave me away. Probably not tomorrow, sure, but soon. Soon, and then for the rest. of. your. life. Ok, so maybe not the rest, but this year it's half days, next year (and for the next decade or so) will be full days, and so this, tonight, is the end of a chapter.

Five days a week you'll be dropped off between 8:15 and 8:30 (let's not kid ourselves; 8:35), greeted by your lovely teachers, and you'll do what you do best: suck up information and spit it back as more questions. Why does the sun go across the sky? Why do boats float? Where do stars get their light? What does the sun eat to stay bright? How does conditioner work? What's in diet coke?


And at 11:45 your dad and Jorge will pick you up and we'll all collectively exhale as we return to the particular flavor of crazy that we're most comfortable with. You'll bicker with Jorge. Jorge will almost surely steal some scrap of paper you consider vitally important and irreplaceable. Daddy will ask you about your day.

But here's where it will differ: the string of random bits of information that will come tumbling out of you in response--those odd connections and long complicated descriptions that only make sense when you have been there and know what you're referring to--will be a mystery. We'll be the ones asking you the hundreds of follow-up questions. What do you mean when you say you ate a cracker with the yellow stuff that's not cheese but it's like mustard but it's not spicy and you liked it that time at the place in Canada by the boats but not the red boat and the cracker had pepper in it but it wasn't too spicy and it was so yummy and we should buy some? Do you mean hummus? No. No. Not hummus. It's like mustard but not spicy and it's not cheese because it's too soft. Was it like a peanut butter? Yes but not really. Actually, no.

We may never figure it out. It'll be yours, a part of your day apart from us. And just like that you're stepping away. Just a tiny step, but there it is.

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