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Monday was Big Girl's first day back at Preschool. So, her final year before Kindergarten is officially underway. Hard to believe. Husband, Middle Girl, and I escorted her to school. Like a good mom, I snapped a few shots. To memorialize another milestone. And I love this first one. I love it because, to me, she looks neither big nor small. I love it because she's still wearing that monstrous Diego backpack we got years ago. I love it because it's blurry. And these time are beautiful and blurry. They are.

I also love this picture. Again blurry. Middle Girl runs ahead. Husband keeps pace behind her, Big Girl just behind him.

My big girls study the advertisement on the side of the bus stop.

At school, we wait as Big Girl settles in her new classroom with her new teachers, friends she knows, and those she will know soon. She was thrilled to play with this lego Stega. We said goodbye and I knew she'd be fine, but I was a bit sad. Not sure why. Thankfully, I had Middle Girl to accompany me home. She was extra silly, so my separation sadness was quickly replaced with a stream of mommy smiles.

At noon, Middle Girl and I picked up her big sister from school. Big Girl was beaming. "I didn't even cry!" she proclaimed. And then she requested a donut for lunch and because this was a special day, I obliged. She went for vanilla with sprinkles. Middle Girl scarfed pink.

We took another bus and then walked the few blocks home. We passed the fire station. The same fire station Dad ran to on September 11, 2001 with a big check. He needed to do something, so he did. On Monday, as we neared those big red doors, we saw them. The brilliant bounty of flowers. As I clutched my little girls' hands, I debated what to tell them. Part of me, a significant part, wanted to tell them that before they were born, something big and bad and important happened, to our country, to our city, to their mommy and that there were so many brave people that day. I wanted to explain. But I didn't. I didn't say anything other than, Look at all the beautiful flowers, girls.

And, at the rainbow of petals, they smiled. They asked if they could stop and smell the flowers. Of course, I said. And I stood back and watched as they inched toward the clusters of gratitude. Because I didn't know what else to do, I took more pictures.

One bouquet had a little card attached. It said, appropriately: We will never forget. Simple words that struck me, and stick with me. True words. Words my girls cannot yet read. Or understand.

So, it was her first day of school, but it was also much more. It was a day of honoring beginnings and remembering ends, a day of sunshine and memorials and late summer magic. A day saturated with pride and profound pulls. A day raw and regal. A good day. And I am proud of her. My Big Girl who is still so little. Not for long. We all know how quickly the years can fly, how ten years can pile up in the blink of an eye. So, I will do my best to soak this all up. These big days. These everydays.

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Did you tell your kids about 9/11? How much should they know about these things? How do you feel on your little ones' first days?

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