Friday, May 31, 2013

for amelia bird

You walked out
of your kindergarten classroom
for the last time today.

This year has felt
impossibly long
and also
like the blink of an eye.
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Being a parent stretches
your capacity for instant nostalgia,
for attempts to wrap
your arms and mind
around something that was here

just a second ago
and is now gone.
It bruises your heart

the way muscles bruise
when you push them
to run faster,
carry more and more
weight.
It is a good bruise
that means we are all becoming

who we are.
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first day of school

When I left your classroom
on the first day
I made it as far as I could. 

I hurried past the other teary moms,
pushed through the school's front doors into the warm September morning. 
I bit my lips.  I looked at the sky,
watched my shoes. 

I made it to my car.  Before I cried.

I cried while I tried to imagine what you were doing. 
It felt so foreign to have to guess, to not simply know.
I drove slowly through our town.

Back and forth
on sunny streets.

And I let my heart break
over the wonder and pride
and utter loss
I felt
over your first day of school.

I finally parked
and wandered
into a basement thrift store.
As I walked slowly through the store
a woman I barely knew
smiled and asked me
how are you
just the way people do.

I had never before cried
on a stranger's shoulder.
All I could say was
it's my daughter's first day
of kindergarten before she
wrapped me in her arms
with an awe, honey.

I cried because I couldn't see your face.
I cried because how can this be right,
to send you far from me
each day?
I cried because what if your feelings were hurt,
or you were tired, or you needed me?
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I cried because
I love you more
than anything.
I cried because I was afraid
you'd struggle

and maybe you'd fall.

But you flew, Bird.
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Of course you did.

2 comments:

Cassie said...

Oh, Ellie... you just took me back to my Stefanie's kindergarten days - it's crazy how it can feel so fresh again. She is 30 for heavens sake!! So many adventures and "flights" ahead of you all :) Hang on it's a wild ride!!

Brandi Powell said...

Your words about her first day....they could have been my words! Your blog is beautiful, so poetic! Thank you for sharing.

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