The Last First Day of School

Kate Bell is GOOD Morning Wilton‘s youngest writer, as a senior at WHS. We wanted to hear her thoughts on today’s start to the school year. It’s a moment she’ll be able to reflect on for the rest of her life, and something for which many of us adults are probably pretty wistful. Imagine her vantage point, looking back over her years in Wilton’s school while also standing on an amazing threshold of possibility.

Today holds promise and excitement for all those going back to school, and for those who have someone they love going to school. Whether it is for the very first time or the very last time here in Wilton there is a buzz in the air.  It holds a bittersweet moment for me because it will be my last first day of school in the Wilton Public School system. While I am extraordinarily excited to be a high school senior it will be the last time I walk through the double set of doors to the high school on the first day. I can still remember the first time I walked through the doors of Cider Mill in fourth grade.  I had just moved here from Singapore, a little timid and knowing absolutely no one I climbed off the bus for my very first time in a public school. The friends I made that day are still my friends to this day even though we may have taken different paths to get to where we are right now.

Armed with new school supplies, a first day outfit, and more strength and knowledge than the year before every student will walk through the doors and wonder who they will be that year. With excitement always come nerves. Who will I hang out with? Are any of my friends in my classes? The best advice I could give is to believe in yourself or your student. If this writer could make it to senior year unscathed then certainly anyone can.

Whether you are a kindergarten mom dropping off your son or daughter for the first time, waving goodbye from the car at a bus stop, or giving one last wave goodbye from the driveway I imagine each parent feels the same way: a little more empty. After asking my mom how she felt after having to drop my sister and me off for Montessori the very first time she had this to say:  “I had two very different experiences dropping you and Kelsey off. Kelsey turned around and went off without so much as a goodbye, whereas you were crying so much they had to put my picture by the door.”

From the child’s perspective, the best way I can put it for parents is that whether you get a big goodbye with tears or no goodbye at all, in a few hours they will come bursting back through the door with all new stories to regale you. Unless you are like me and every time my mom asks me, “What did you do in school today?” she gets the, “Oh nothing!” reply. (I really did do something in school but I am usually just too tired to remember any of it.)

Every year my mom reminds me of how scared I was staring Cider Mill, and later Middlebrook, and finally freshman year. But what I did not realize was that while I certainly got lost along the way on occasion, I made it and did not find it as bad as I had pictured it to be. She also likes to remind me how I left the house in a perfectly clean uniform and hair in a bow and returned looking like I went through a hurricane. My clothes were askew, my lunch was on my shirt, and my hair bow never seemed to make it home on my head. (I guess that’s why my mother would ask what I did in school that day.)

While today is the last first day of school photo and the very last wave from the driveway my mother will make, I still appreciate everything she has done for me to get ready for school for the last twelve years of school.  If today is the beginning of the school journey or the last leg of a long race, enjoy each moment and always ask, “What did you do in school today?”