This morning, Queen Teen started High School. She was a little nervous yesterday, and very sleepy this morning (why does school start so frickin early?!), but by the time she was dressed and in the car, she was smiling. Driving her to school, I remembered her first day of preschool when she was a tiny three year old. I helped her out of the car and then walked with her to the group of preschoolers standing together in front of the school building with their parents and the teacher. She held my hand tightly, but grinned when she saw the other kids. Once all the kids were gathered, the teacher took Queen Teen's hand to help her walk (this was back when QT could walk on her own without a walker, but on uneven ground she needed a hand to keep her balance) and all of the children followed in a line, holding each other's hands. Most of them were crying and a few had refused to let go of their moms, but Queen Teen looked back at me, smiled, waved with her free hand, and said, "Bye Mom." Then she happily went to class with her teacher.
I went back to my car and burst into tears.
And now here we are, 12 years and 24 inches later, on the first day of High School. Dressed in a Tinker Bell t-shirt and light-blue skirt, Queen Teen looked confident. When we got to school, she grabbed the arms of her walker and walked to the front door, grinning when she recognized her aid from the 8th grade who had followed QT to 9th grade. I helped Queen Teen find her desk and explained to the aid why QT wasn't wearing her hearing aids (eczema is still a major problem). At last, it was time to go. Kneeling beside Queen Teen, I said, "Bye sweety. Have a good day at school."
She smiled at me and said, "Bye Mom."
And then I went back to my car and cried.