Yesterday was Tuesday. Tuesday; as in the day you wake up energized by the reality that within minutes of wiping the sleep from your eyes, you could be face to face with your computer monitor enjoying the glorious prose of yours truly, The Wordslinger. Or, perhaps, Tuesday; as in the day the trash gets picked up.
However you choose to identify Tuesdays, the fact remains that your inbox was empty yesterday. Or at least devoid of any of my musings. I’m sure it was filled with plenty of Living Social deals and letters from Prince Amar of Nigeria, willing his 14.7 million rupees to you however.
My triumphant return from nearly a month of sleepless nights and diaper changes was slightly derailed yesterday by the unnerving notion that my little girl isn’t all that little anymore. That’s right, yesterday was Izzy’s first day of school. SCHOOL! You know, that place where kids learn to read, write, and rebel against their parents. My little munchkin was entering the real world and I am having just a slight problem adjusting to the thought.
We arrived at school a few minutes early and she was already clamoring to go inside. “Excited to go to school?” I thought to myself. It’s been a long time since I was excited about school so her cheery demeanor confused me. Nevertheless, we headed inside where she was greeted by her new teacher and the 15-20 other 3-year-olds that formed a cornucopia of emotions.
Some burst through the doors, presumably hopped up on Fun-Dip or something, eyes darting wildly from toys to crafts to everything in between. Others clung to their parents as if the doctor had accidentally forgotten to cut the cord those many years ago. And then there was Izzy, stuck somewhere in between the giant chasm of childhood personalities. She never grabbed our hands or shed a tear, she simply followed the teacher’s instructions and did as she was told, all with a smile on her face.
Watching her sit in a circle with her soon-to-be friends, listening to the teacher as she welcomed them to school was surreal. For three and a half years, I’ve been this little girl’s father, all the while waiting for someone to bust through the door and yell “gotcha”, like it was all pretend. I do everything I think a good Dad should, hoping that I’m making the right decisions along the way. Jen always tells me not to throw important things away, and I sure wish I had listened before tossing out Izzy’s owner’s manual, so I’ve done my best to act like I know what I’m doing.
But now, as she enters her first real social situation without her parents by her side, I’m left in awe of how prepared she seems to take it on. She looked closer to 30 than 3 as I watched her play with children she had never met before and follow instructions from her teacher, as if it were nothing new.
Yesterday’s class lasted only an hour and half, and she won’t experience her first day sans parents until next week, but it was a milestone nonetheless. It’s sobering to think that I’m merely a blink or two away from her teaching me calculus and asking to borrow the car, but judging by the speed at which these 3 years have gone by, I’m not far off in my logic.
Last night, after Izzy and Jake had gone to bed and Jen laid down to get some rest before Matthew’s next feeding, I bounced around the house trying to settle down our newest addition during what has become his cranky time. Looking at him as he finally fell asleep in my arms, took me back to similar night with Izzy just a few short years ago. We’re taught in school about the concept of time and the seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so on. But no one tells you that time moves differently when you become a parent. There is no way these last 3 years moved at the same pace as the 3 before. Perhaps I need to go back to school for a refresher.