The precious


You might call it a coincidence. But I’m not so sure.

Today was the first in a series of baby steps back to school this week. A 2-hour open house. Everyone’s invited, meet the teachers, make sure your paperwork is all in, tour the classrooms.

This day was a big day last year. For us. For her. So big.

This morning she chose to wear last year’s first day of school dress. I didn’t think she actually liked it, she rarely chose to wear it again after that first day. And I don’t think she remembered that this is how she started last year. I don’t think she really got the symbolism, or, at least, the symbolism to me. But I still don’t think its coincidence.

Of course it’s no longer so much a dress and she had to wear it with leggings this year as it barely covers her bum. But still, when she slung her backpack over her shoulders and walked towards the door, I was transported back 365 days.

girl with backpack

last year’s first day

On this day last year, all three of us slid into the car. All three of us walked up to the table and the smiling people behind it. All three of us met the teachers and looked around and tried to get a feel for this new routine, new experience, new everything.

I remember lifting her up and balancing her on my hip. Her head rested on my shoulder, her little face buried in my hair. Her knee resting against my very pregnant belly.

I remember so well, even a year later, how big and scary it felt. Sending my firstborn out into the world. To school. With new people and rules but also new magic and new wonder. I remember how precious we were about the entire thing. All of us going to the open house. Carefully preparing and talking and celebrating.

little girl on a bench

Today, M took her to the open house. I stayed home so baby boy could nap and I could catch up on some work. Tomorrow when she heads off to her first half day, I won’t be here. I won’t be here when she gets back either. Aftershocks of the chaotic summer we’ve finally exited. We haven’t prepared quite as much or talked quite as much.

We lost the precious along the way.

And I suppose that’s normal. Necessary even. We can’t treat every experience or moment, or new school year, with the same fragile, care that we did last year. After all, we have done this before now. And we have two now. The time to be precious about every little thing just isn’t there.

But I wonder if we didn’t loose more than just the precious. These days everything feels a little old hat. A little too much grind. It’s that time of year again. Back to school. Here we go.

I don’t want to loose the preciousness of those firsts. I don’t want to loose the care and tenderness with which we treated everything she did for the first three years of her life. I don’t want to let go of the thrill and the excitement. The thinking and the over-thinking.  I don’t want to loose any of it. I want to live in those moments and feel it all.

I want the first days of school to be big every year. I want them to be precious. I want both my children to learn that not only is it ok to make a big deal, it is worth making time to make a big deal. So I’m cooking up some big deal plans and we’ll make up these back-to-school traditions as we go along. And we’ll make sure we don’t loose the precious.


  1. I love this – those first firsts are precious. And while subsequent firsts may not be as much, they are still special in their way. There is a comfort that comes with familiarity though, and that in itself is a treasure.
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..StripesMy Profile

    • Love that – the comfort of familiarity is indeed a treasure! I sometimes forget that I my quest for everything to be new and exciting.

  2. I think I’m in a similar head space. My daughter is starting her second year of preschool and of course it’s nothing like last year’s first year. And it’s also not making me feel the way next year may make me feel – the big Kindergarten. Yikes. However it will hit me next week, however it will hit me. The empty house. The early morning, bleary-eyed school dropoffs. The reunions. The precious four hour days, three days a week. I wish for more and someday I’ll have more, but right now – this is something. Something special and different.
    Tamara recently posted..Baby Hold On: Truro, Part 1.My Profile

    • Oh my goodness yes – next year and kindergarten will most certainly bring back the precious. I get all emotional thinking about it already!

  3. I really think the key in making things precious every year is the traditions. My babies started grade 10, grade 7, grade 5 and grade 3 – and it was awesome – and so awesome to complete all our back to school traditions! Every year can be special:)
    Leah Davidson recently posted..Back to SchoolMy Profile

    • Yes! The staggered back to school process she is in with her school now leaves me feeling like we just aren’t settled in our traditions yet. But we have time to solidify those 🙂

  4. I know that whatever you are cooking up to celebrate those firsts will be magical and precious. You are so great at capturing these moments for us, that I know you will be incredible at capturing those moments while in the moment for your children.
    Ilene recently posted..Jersey Girls Don’t Pump GasMy Profile

  5. The best precious? The stuff that happens naturally, the fuss you’ll make over the first day, the stories of that first-day dress making to year 2, too. The best traditions just happen.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About J-Law, Beach Water and Getting a Shark to Say “Cheese”My Profile

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