His First Day

Today was Harrison’s first day of school.

I remember the first day of kindergarten. I sat by Teresa Greene and thought she was the coolest girl ever. She had hair that went almost to her behind, it was so long. I was heavily impressed. We stayed friends for the next 13 years and sat together at graduation. Sometimes we underestimate the importance of “first days”. She and I still keep in touch and get together with our children.

I remember a lot of things from Kindergarten. Carleen Stewart throwing up in her pink dress, Sheri Ulgray wetting her pants periodically throughout the year. The smell of the Hot Lunch cart, Mr. M and his Munchy Mouth. I remember being worried about my broken arm and sad that I couldn’t wear all my new school clothes. I remember my blue button up blouse with the red bow tie.

My teacher died half-way through the school year. She got sick and passed away at 44. I remember my mom getting the phone call. She was standing in the kitchen by the Boot Room and I knew what was happening. But when you’re five, death is not a big deal, at least it wasn’t to me. I could see my mother was emotional and so I decided I had better be emotional too. So I cried. It was fake, but I remember thinking about people in the movies and trying to be like them.

Our substitute was Mr. Schneider. He’s still there, in that same classroom. Back in Elma I bump into him on occasion. Later in the year a little boy in my class was killed in a car accident. Mr Schneider always talks to me about it. He says that I was adamant that they were both up in Heaven together and that we didn’t need to be sad because they were with Jesus.

And so, as I send my son off today, part of me knows that he’s beginning the rest of his life. Part of me understands that new people and places are going to impact him, and his memories and influences are now out of my control.

When I took him to the bus stop with all those big kids, he hugged me and let me kiss him, then quickly wiped his cheek off in embarrassment. I had to smile, he’s so old and so cool. I didn’t hover, I turned around and walked away, leaving my son at the hands of the world. Will he remember Jesus today? Will he be kind to kids who have no friends? Will he be honest and happy and safe? Have I done enough? I wonder. I will always wonder.

Let me say, it was a long and lonely walk up that hill without him.


  1. Tammara, Jess and Cory says:

    Very nicely put. I love your wording of stuff going on in your life. When I am wanting a smile I can always count on your blog. Thanks.

  2. SevenVillageIdiarts says:

    What a sweet post. Can I sit down with you for a week or so, tell you my life stories and then pay you to write a blog post for me everyday? You would do a better job. I know. I just posted for TOMOROW, about the first day of school TODAY and mine is lame. Maybe I’ll just cut and paste and pretend all those things happened to me.

  3. My heart is constricting and so SO grateful that my moment won’t come for another year. But I will wonder all of those things and hope that he will meet good friends, be a good friend, be safe and above all…wipe himself(see my blog for explanation). Well, how did Harry’s first day go? Let us know.

  4. Those are the defining moments in life that you remember, your first son’s first day of school. Moms are so lucky, guys just don’t get on all that joyful, bittersweet stuff. NEAT.

  5. I was sad too. I teared up when I saw him run into the classroom without me. Today, as I dropped him off at the front of the building, I was sad he didn’t need me anymore. But also glad he didn’t need me because I was still in my pajamas. Ah, the new chapter. I am not a mom of little kids anymore. I can already feel the tides turn. So sad. And to think, I looked forward to this.

  6. Sanders Family says:

    Come on Annie, Greene with an “e” You should know that after 13 years. Andrew is starting preschool next week and I am having the same feelings. Take Care

  7. Alison Wonderland says:

    Wow you remember a lot. me, I got nothing about anything that happened before… Um… today?

    Good luck to you, and to Harrison.

  8. Mother Goose says:

    OHH, how I remember sending them off for the first time. I give you credit being able to leave him at the bus stop! YOu have such vivid memories of Kindergarten. Me, Not so much I am lucky to remember where I left my keys last, these days.

  9. Wow! Major milestone! I enjoyed reading your blog and being reminded of so many people & things (even the smell of the lunch cart!) Thanks. I'm assuming Carson was in kindergarten with you? I think he told me that he was in Mrs. Shaddac's class the year she died.

  10. Hi Annie –

    I enjoy reading your post – what a sweet picture. I thought about you yesterday when I was looking for houses in Ogden. Where are you exactly? Fun to sing with you a few weeks ago too. Love ya, Adrianne

  11. Harder than you thought after all? It does cause reflection, doesn’t it? My big K memories are of Janelle Moe, headlice checks (which terrified me), anxiety attacks EVERY day before getting on the bus, and crying when I thought I’d have to take the roll into Mrs. Shaddac’s class all by myself.

    Good luck Harrison!

  12. McFarland Family says:

    Congrats to Harrison!!
    But, I can’t belive you kept going to school after a year like that of kindergarten. I”m not even positive I remember the name of the school I first went to. I do remember my first day outfit though.

  13. Annie, your first baby of to school. I still remember my first day too. Jeisa had her first day today and my kids were all off again. I wasn’t ready for it this year. Just when I was ready to start cleaning the house-after posting their photo on my blog-I get a call that Jordan forgot his shorts for body conditioning. I wanted a couple hours before it started. Kerry

  14. Sheesh…I’m totally tearing up. I never thought it would be a big deal to send my kids off to school, in fact, I’ve been counting down the days…but now you’ve given me a whole new outlook and I’m totally sad. Thanks a lot.
    Seriously though…precious. You’re a good mom and Harrison is a wonderful kid…you bet he’ll think about Jesus.

  15. fox family says:

    I’ve had those same feelings Annie. It’s so hard to let your kids go. Even the second time around (with Sadie) it was hard.

  16. ok you had me at “My teacher died…” then you got all sweet about how you wanted to be like the people in the movies, that was so touching. ok really though laughs aside, love the pic at the end, that’s a tear clencher. Way to tough it out today.

  17. The Cisneros Family says:

    OMgosh Annie, you make me want to start bawling! I don’t know how parents are doing it. I’m SOO glad I homeschool. But cheers to you for being such a big mommy.