I watched her this morning, as she stood in line. new pink converse high tops on her feet, hello kitty backpack and matching lunchbox carried with so much pride. wide-eyed and quiet, like the rest of the children she stood next to, she waited to walk inside the old brick school to start her first day of kindergarten. thirty minutes earlier, she had been visibly excited, giggly even, but now she stood quiet. she glanced back at us and I felt at once such a mixture of panic and pride. I felt I might run screaming towards her for one last hug, one last pep talk. instead, I stood silent, watching and waving, smiling through air thick and balmy. my skin felt sticky and my eyes began to water. I looked down so that she would not see this. there she goes, I thought. off into the big bad world. and I prayed that she would make at least one friend this first day, that she would have no encounters with mean kids, that she would not feel so scared and unsure.
I am counting the minutes until 2:45.