Like lots of California kids, my kids went back to school this week. Back to school is always stressful and gives me lot of anxiety but nothing was like this year. See Phi has been at a small charter school homeschool program for the last 3 years. She was home with me everyday. I was her teacher so all her lessons were one on one. She went back to the same charter but this year was for all-day junior high.
I was so anxious about this transition. There are just so many new things at once. It's hard for me to not see these experiences from 11 year old Elissa's perspective. And 11 year old Elissa should have been on Xanex. It took me back to my first day of high school and that was still one of the scariest days of my life. I kept thing about all the things that Phi could stress about. There were just so many new things for her, from switching classes, dressing out for PE, locks and lockers, how the bells work and even what to do if she needs to go to the bathroom. She has not been in a real classroom setting since she was in 2nd grade.
I was so anxious that for 2 weeks I was having typical school nightmares. The night before school started I had the worst one. I had a dream, a very vivid dream that Justin Beiber started a full on race riot at Phi's school.
All day school also means we have to be up and out of the house at an ungodly hour. On the big day we were up and ready with enough time for the traditional by the front door picture. And this year thanks to my awesome paint job we had a cool chalkboard door to pose in front of.
Is is just me or did she grow-up into a pre-teen like overnight?
Holy Moly I can see what adult Phi will look like in this pictures.
I think Louie knew that this new adventure meant big changes for her. She has spent almost everyday of her life that she can remember with her sister. And now she was going to be riding solo for most of the day. Louie woke up really early and literally just sat and stared at Phi while she ate breakfast and got ready.
I have a few first day of school pictures with my sister in her pajamas! And chances are I also wore a long shirt and leggings on my first day of 6th grade!.
We drove to school and the entire drive Phi was talking non-stop. She was so excited for her first day. It was then that I was reminded that Phi is not like me at her age. She is much more confident and brave. She doesn't worry about the little things like I did. We pulled up to the drop off point and I asked for a selfie.
This is the exact moment the waterworks started. You can see my face is starting to crumble.
I kept it together long enough to kiss her bye and to tell her to remember everything because I am going to want to hear all about her day. Then she shut the door and walked away and I broke down. I started to drive away and I drove past to see her walk through the gate and that image was too much. She was literally entering a new phase of her life and I had to pull over because the ugly sobbing crying was happening.
This big change was really scary for me because this was the first time that I have had to let her go on her own and figure out all new things. To send her into the world without me literally holding her hand. I sat in my car and cried and hoped and prayed that I have been a good enough parent so far. That I have prepared her for this. I hoped that I was there enough and at the same time hoped that I let her be independent enough. Phi is my first kid so really I can only hope that I am doing things okay. That I am raising her to be successful and with the ability to take on new challenges.
It was a long day at work as I stared at the clock, looked over at my copy of her schedule and imagined her in whatever class she was in. I could not wait for the end of the day to go pick her up.
Of course she asked us to sign her up for the after school program so I didn't go get her until after work. When I picked her up she was again non-stop talking about her day. She loved it. She gave me a minute-by-minute recap of her day. She handled it all like a champ. She got to all her classes, reconnected with old friends from 2nd grade, and even made new ones. She loved all her teachers and is anxious to start learning new things.
The next day Phi was very excited to go back. I believe her exact words were "I can't believe I get to go back again!". The next day was also Louie's first day of 1st grade. Louie is back in the homeschool program so she only goes to class for a total of 3 hours over 2 days. 2 hours one day and 1 hour the next. Since her class doesn't start until later in the morning I wasn't home for her big send off so Poppa took the pictures.
She wore a new dress that Grandma Kim had bought her and Poppa braided her blue-tipped hair into her signature 2 braids. Louie has the same teacher and same routine but when Joey sent me a text of a picture of her I cried again. This time it was because I knew that this was the last year of homeschooling for Louie. Our school is moving to all day elementary next year.
In one short year I will be dropping off both kids for a full day away from me at school. Ugh!