Alli's first day of her third year at SVS began yesterday. She could not wait to get there. This child who prefers to stay up all night and sleep until noon, rose at the crack of dawn, rushed into my bedroom, and with a grin on her face asked, "Is it time to go yet?"
Backpack in hand filled with her favorite stuffed animals, a gift she had made for her friend, and her very own dollar bill, she told me she was ready to go. Unlike previous years, she was strikingly independent in her preparation for school. Her father met us in the parking lot to see her off on her first day back, but she was impatient with us as we snapped our photos. I turned off the car and started walking with her down the long road to the main building.
"Where are you going?" she asked me.
"I'm walking you into school," I replied assuming she would be overjoyed by this unusual act of hospitality on my part. She shook her head.
"I'm seven, Mom." She lisped from her new wiggly teeth.
I stood frozen in my tracks. Just the year before she would have begged me to walk her into the building claiming she wasn't able to sign herself in, a task which required she locate her name on a list of all students and record the time of her arrival to school.
My heart jumped at this new pang of loss. We discussed how she would be sure to sign herself into school on this morning, by herself for the very first time. I went back to my car, watching her lug her bags down the road to the school. Her confidence astounded me. The campus seemed to be buzzing around her with possibilities. Her stride picked up as she saw someone she recognized, and off she went.
Arriving home in the evening she reported to me how she found her name and recorded the time upon her arrival inside the building. Then she said, "tomorrow I want to wake up at 8:30 so I can get to school earlier, don't forget Mom." It's going to be a very different school year.