Hope vs. Reality…That First Day of School

 Both of our girls have flown the nest, but I watch out the window of our home every morning as neighborhood kids get on the bus…and I whisper a prayer and hope their day is good…

My mind went back this morning to something I wrote 6 years ago….

I just dropped off my sweet, beautiful, high school sophomore daughter at school. On the way home I passed a house where a little girl was standing up on the porch…fresh new clothes, a pretty bow in her hair, backpack on her back, cute lunchbox in hand, and a big smile for the mommy at the bottom of the steps who was taking a picture of what seemed to be her baby’s first day of school. The mom looked so excited and proud…she was literally beaming. I remembered that day…that feeling… the excitement, the pictures with both of our girls on their first day. We shan’t discuss the buckets of tears and quantity of donuts consumed after they got out of the car and walked away.

The scene that I witnessed this morning got me thinking….what is it about the first day of kindergarten for mommies that makes us so excited; makes us want to capture every moment so we can remember it and savor it for years to come?….I think it is called HOPE…anything is possible…they are walking away from us into a new world where they will learn and grow and become all they want to be….right? Well, at least those are the thoughts that we are having when we are beaming and taking pictures…

….But what do we do with the day of tears and donuts that can quickly follow the drop off? Maybe it should be discussed…

Does full out, ugly-face crying into a box of Krispy Kremes mean that all hope is lost? I don’t think so…

Hope is like this wonderful, frightening mix of possibility and uncertainty. Hope is what we do when we just don’t know for sure how it is all going to come out. We hope that all the kids are nice to them. We hope the teachers are kind and encouraging. We hope….

The ugly donut scene comes in, I believe, when our children are out of our car… out of our reach and the harsh reality that we know from experience, settles in…we can’t manage or monitor this. Some kids are mean. Sometimes teachers just run out of nice and resort to yelling.  We know some days they will come home crying and we will have to fight the urge to take some kid or teacher by the neck and remind them of their manners. This is reality.

Hope does not deny reality. It stands tall in the face of it…donut in hand, and smiles through the tears, knowing that…Some kid will be nice and share their gummy bears at lunch. Some teacher will do one thing that makes your child feel like the best, most smartest kid in the universe. Some days they will get back in the car smiling and feeling like a million bucks. I sure do Hope…don’t you??

Published by: Mishelle Phillips

I’m an empty-nester mom from Franklin, Tennessee. I live with my husband of 25 years, Richard. I am blessed with friends and family who love me, encourage me…and talk me into doing stuff that scares me. Over the years I have shared my writings with them and they suggested I start this blog. So…. here it is. I offer it with one hand over my face, peeking through my fingers as I click on the word “publish” … hoping with all my heart you find something meaningful here. Mishelle Phillips


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