Today it's her turn. Middle Girl. She will wear her first-day-of-school dress (no, not her Sleeping Beauty costume pictured above) and she will walk through that Preschool door, and climb those Preschool steps and enter a new Preschool classroom and meet some new Preschool teachers.
She will begin again. Another year. Another good year.
And she is playing it cool, but I know she excited to go back. This little girl of mine is eager to see her friends and to learn new things. She is pumped to carry her new butterfly backpack, too. She is ready.
And I am, too. Ready to be back in the proverbial swing of things, to sink into this good month of September, to feel a rhythm again. I'm ready for routine. It's boring to say that maybe, but I am. Ready. Ready for fall, and all that it brings.
But first. Today. Today is a beginning. For my little tomboy princess, for her school year. But it is also a day soaked in endings.
Eleven years ago. Those towers. Those planes. Those lives.
I was in law school. I was full of myself then, blanched with ambition, optimism, naivete. I was not yet a wife or a mother. I had yet to taste struggle, loss. When I heard what happened, I was in the back of a taxi cab on my way to class. The radio blared with stories that seemed far-fetched, fictional. Stories about planes and buildings. Stories about my city, my country. Quickly, it became real. I raced home. Home then was still Mom and Dad's house, and when I got there I hugged Mom and sat with her and watched the TV. I shook.
Eleven years later and I can almost still feel the shaking, my shaking, my city's shaking, and I can almost conjure that smell. That cloying smell of smoke, of catastrophe.
And so. Today is a good day, a very good day, a day of beginning. But it is not just that. It is so much more than that. And, maybe, just maybe, because it is more, this day, because it is a complicated day, a gray one... the fact I am here in this moment, alive and well and free and thoughtful, kicking around this beautiful city that is and has always been home, the fact I will hold her little hand and kiss her little cheek and twirl her little ponytail and hug her in the hallway of her wonderful school and say the simple words have a good first day, my babe... will feel like that much more of a gift.
Good luck today, my Panda girl.
Do you enjoy schedules, the hum of routine? Where were you on 9/11? Were you a different person then? Do you agree that acknowledging endings makes us appreciate the beginnings that much more?