Point of No Return
In August of 2005, I sent my firstborn off to school for the first time. The week before, we’d gone to the Open House to take a look at her classroom and meet her teacher, but on that warm, sunny Monday morning, things felt different. It was real.
I had gotten her up early and helped her into her first-day-of-school outfit: an adorable black and white checkered dress with a matching short-sleeved jacket, white bobby socks and Mary Janes. I brushed her long brown hair until it was shiny and smooth, adding two little clips on top to hold it away from her face. I remember parking the car and walking up to the school-house with her, hoping I’d get to walk her all the way to her classroom, but the principal of her school had strict rules about not letting parents inside, and once my daughter stepped through those double doors she was gone. No longer my baby but an actual Student at an actual School.
I barely had a chance to snap one photograph before she disappeared into a crowd of tiny four-year-olds, and then, sniffling, I trudged back to the car thinking of all the things that could possibly happen to her while she was away [for a whopping four hours]. What if she got lost on her way to class? What if she got a paper cut on her first assignment? What if her teacher mispronounced her name and all the other kids laughed? What if a bully demanded her lunch money and knocked her to the ground? As I drove out of the parking lot, a million what-ifs flooded my head, and the thought that I wouldn’t be there to save her broke my heart, but at the same time I’d always known this day would have to come, and I was proud of my baby girl. I wanted her to get out there, take the bull by the horns, conquer her little four-year-old world. It was her time to shine, and that was a good thing.
Today, nearly eleven years later, I sent off another of my babies. A two-year-old this time, in a white outfit with black lines. I worry that it’s improperly formatted, that something within it won’t make sense. What if it’s too dry? Too sappy? Too dull?
But it’s gone now, making its way through the tangled mess of electronic connections out there in the publishing world, and I’m hoping it gets to shine, at least a little bit, someday.