One of the saddest days of the year for me is the first day of school. I’ve been taking kids to their “first day” for 11 years now, and it never gets easier. I still remember the first nine years vividly. Those were the years I walked my kids in. We’d take pictures in the driveway, then again in front of the school, and finally in class with their new teacher. As my children got older, they began to protest. “Mom, I don’t need you to walk me in. I’m fine.” But I rationalized. We had paper towels and tissue boxes for the classroom and someone had to carry it all in. Those school supplies were my ticket.
Then, last year, all three of my children had “milestone” years. My oldest began high school and my twins started middle school. There were no school supplies to carry in. And no other parents were walking in. I had to say goodbye from the car.
As I get ready for another school year, I know the days of walking my kids in are long gone. On August 24, they’ll kiss me, get out of the car quickly, and walk themselves in to a new school year. I’ll be filled with anxiety. And sadness. They are getting older.
But if I could walk them in….I know what I would do, what I’d say.
To my oldest daughter. If I could walk you in, I’d get out of the car proudly and walk beside you. You’re taller than me now. Your face, once round and soft, is now mature. The little girl who was shy in Kindergarten has grown into a confident teenager. If I could walk you in, I’d run with you as you found your best friends on the first day. They are an amazing group. Kind, smart and athletic, these friends have purpose. They are pretty, but not obsessed with their looks or clothes. They’re solid. Stick with this group. If could walk you in, the next thing we’d do is find your teachers from last year. They helped mold you into the student you’ve become. They were caring and patient and wanted you to succeed. I’d thank them and remind you to remember the people who have helped you along the way. If I could walk you in, I’d find the perfect date to Homecoming. He’d be funny, a little shy, and polite. He’d be a friend, nothing more. If I could walk you in, before we parted, I’d face you, hold your hands, and tell you that I’m proud of everything you’re becoming. You have never let me down. The school years are passing so quickly and I want to cherish the time we have left. I’d kiss your forehead and pray to God that He keep you safe.
To my son and oldest twin. If I could walk you in, I’d jump out of the car first and wait for you to catch up. I’d remind you to get your lunch and tuck in your shirt. You would roll your eyes. We’d go back to the car to get your belt. At 12, you are now taller than me. But I know you are still a little boy. If I could walk you in, I’d do all of this with a smile. While it may seem that I am always correcting you, I know you are evolving perfectly for who you are. If I could walk you in, I’d run with you as you found your teachers. More than anyone in our family, you love to learn. I’d ask that they challenge you and see the best in you. I’d apologize for any permission slips that will surely be lost or late. If I could walk you in, I’d say hello to every kid in the hall. I realize how much you love having friends. I’d find the perfect group for you to sit with at lunch. It would be a mix of athletic kids, who you admire, and a group of smart kids, who like you, love to read. If I could walk you in, before we parted, I would face you, put both my hands on your shoulders, and tell you how much I adore you. God has given you gifts and I’m proud you use them wisely. I am in awe with everything you are. I’d kiss you on your cheek and tell you that I believe in you and all of your possibilities.
To my daughter, the youngest twin. If I could walk you in, I’d take your hand and we’d skip through the front door. When you were in elementary school, it seemed you skipped everywhere, and I miss those days. Back then, you wore the same pair of red, sparkly shoes the entire year. You had a sense of style at a young age, and you still do. If I could walk you in, I’d pretend, for just a short time, that you weren’t a twin, or a little sister. I’d let everyone see you for the unique person you are. The beautiful individual I know. If I could walk you in, I’d find the popular kids. You are adorable, and can easily fit in here and everywhere. I’d watch you give group hugs and then I’d lead you down the hall. We’d find the girls who aren’t quite as popular, the ones with slightly messy hair who aren’t so secure just yet. These are the friends I would pick for you. They are not in a hurry grow up. If I could walk you in, I’d go to class with you. I’d tell you to raise your hand and speak up. You may not realize it, but you are a leader and role model. You know more than you think. If I could walk you in, before we parted, I’d pick you up and hold you in my arms. Although I am older, I am strong and you are still my baby. God has given you a great gift; you are well rounded. I would kiss your entire face, hold you just a little longer, and thank Him for the years ahead.
If only I could walk you in.