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First Day of School Cool

Yesterday, my daughter began Kindergarten. It was her first day of real school. If there is anything that requires some getting used to it's starting school on a single digit date in August before the summer is even close to being over.

She was very excited. On the flip side her brother, ten years her senior, lamented with the drama of a Shakespearean actor over the horror that has been set upon him. The only sign that suggested a human soul inhabits his teenage body was seeing him happily impressed by the show being put on out in front of his sister's school: a speaker was set up blasting music and the principal along with a handful of teachers were cheering on each student (complete with pompoms) as they walked inside.

As my daughter and I neared the hallway where her class is located I observed a rather large subset of overwhelmed and teary parents, most of whom were mothers. I smiled, nodded at folks, shook hands with my baby's teacher, took some pics with my camera phone (yes, I left my hardware at home), made sure she was comfortable, gave her a hug and kiss and left her to experience her first day. I went down the hall to the new parents' reception, passed on the doughnuts, scooped a bowl of fruit for myself, made a couple of brief acquaintances and made my way out the door.

And then I circled back to my daughter's class one more time. I stood back in the hallway and watched for a second before her teacher closed the classroom door. My little one was fine so I was fine.

Later on that morning I posted a first day of school picture of her on Facebook. Of course the obvious question came up: Was I able to keep it together when I dropped her off? On Facebook my answer was a quick yes, but as I thought about it the reason for that yes is the sum of the following parts:

  • I'm used to it - I've been dropping my daughter off to day-care or pre-school since she was seven months old (the first day of day care I was ready to kick down the doors I was so scared to leave her).

  • My daughter is supposed to be growing. I'm filled with a sense of joy not sadness that she is advancing. Despite that natural urge to hold onto the past she can't stay little forever. If that were even possible I'd be doing her and the world a great disservice.

  • I live for these moments because I missed them with my son. For those of you who are new to my story...when I met the woman who would be my wife she came with a big-eared boy who was already five years old. This boy would become my son. Although there was no way it could have happened because I didn't know my wife at the time, it sometimes pains me that I wasn't there for him during years 0 to 5.125. I often find myself making up for those initial years I never had with him by doubly investing in the early years I have with his sister.

I am losing nothing. If anything she gains every opportunity she deserves and is destined to have.

I know some women reading this might say, "Pish tah, stop being a robot! I cried when my baby went to school." But this is my answer and I'm sticking to it because I have no reason not to.

I'm the author of DAD: As Easy As A, B, C! - 26 Dos & Don'ts for Fathers. Click here for my story and the origin of Makes Me Wanna Holler. Do you Tweet? Follow EPayneTheDad on Twitter. Live on Facebook? Like Makes Me Wanna Holler on Facebook.

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