On her first day of kindergarten, Kara was up and dressed a full hour before the bus was scheduled to arrive. She's always been an early riser, but walking around the house with her book bag over her shoulders before 7 am was a bit much. So instead we spent the time taking countless photos in strikingly similar poses.
Personally, I think they're all stunning.
Luke packed her lunch the night before: half a peanut butter and banana sandwich, bunny snack mix, an apple and raisins. He placed a note in her lunch box featuring a sketch of her face ("She likes pictures of herself!") that he and I both signed. When she wasn't sitting in thoughtful silence, she was chattering on excitedly about the bus.
"I ride bus, too! I ride bus, too!" Liam shrieked, and Nathan was jumping out of his skin with anticipation.
"Next year when I go to kindergarten, I can ride the bus with Kara," he told us. "I can sneak on and sit right next to her!" Which, ermagaaah, what are you all doing to me.
By 7:50, the whole family was outside waiting for the big yellow school bus to round the corner and take our baby away. I didn't ride the bus until I was in sixth grade, and even then the neighborhood stop was my old elementary school. I felt supremely out of my element.
"You must be Kara!" the bus driver said as she opened the doors. And then suddenly Kara was walking toward the steps, too quickly for me to hug her good-bye. I plan to remind her of this oversight on her wedding day.
All morning I was so proud of myself for holding it together - making jokes to keep Kara smiling and keeping my voice bright and perky - but I lost it, here. I waved furiously until she couldn't see us anymore and kept my face turned away from the other parents so they wouldn't judge the newbie mom crying all over herself just like when M'Lynn took Shelby off life support.
Then Luke, the boys and I piled into the Outlander and promptly drove to the elementary school.
Oh, yes we did. Because apparently it's perfectly reasonable these days to stalk your children when they're going to school for the first time, documenting their newfound independence with more pictures and a side of helicopter parenting. Works for me!
Baby steps off the bus, baby steps into the classroom...
We originally planned to walk back to our car after that, but the principal was ushering all the families inside to keep the parking lot clear, so we darted into the building and met up with Kara again, who was trying to figure out what to do with her lunch box.
The four of us stuck around for another 15 minutes, helping Kara at her locker, getting her folder to her teacher and watching her settle down with a puzzle. Then, seeing as it was the first day of kindergarten and not a spin-off of The Real World, we said good-bye one last time and finally made our way home.
We were back at the bus stop at 4 o'clock, and just as quickly as our family was separated that morning, we were reunited.
Kara's school adopted full-day kindergarten this year, which means she was in class for a whopping seven hours. Thanks to her detailed account, Luke and I were able to discern the following about her day:
- She colored a Clifford coloring sheet.
- She ate lunch in the cafeteria.
- She had quiet time on the carpet.
- I'm hungry, can I have a snack?
She's going to be just fine, this year.