the second first day

“Mama, can I please be in charge of my preschool?” Margot asked during our back-to-school shopping yesterday afternoon. She went on to explain that our whole family could be involved but she wanted to call the shots. Namely, open the door, walk in first, say hi to teachers and kids, find her cubby. Demonstrate her independence, leadership and ownership. I get it. I smiled and listened and felt that same heave as the first day last year — the swelling ache that happens in the exact place where she occupied my core for nine months. My body has a physical reaction to her growth, just like it did when she grew from a cashew to a pumpkin, just like it did when it contracted and pushed her into the world, just as it always will every frozen moment of pinch-myself-that’s-my-awesome-daughter for the rest of my life.


She’s been excited for weeks now, asking often when school would start. Last night she laid out her clothes, helped me pack her backpack and told me what she’d like for lunch on that first day. I love packing her lunch a whole lot.


This morning, we snuggled in bed for a long, really fun bit where she giddily, regularly screeched I am going to school today! In the kitchen, I poured the coffee Andy had made just before he left for work, prepared oatmeal and discovered a little surprise from daddy. In addition to coffee, he had also made cookies for his girl.


Arriving, Margot entered with upperclassman confidence through the giant double doors to the sign-in table, casually saying good morning to the director and locating her starfish hook. She was proud and exceedingly happy. Heave.

My little extrovert explored, introduced herself and found a place next to her friend Lucy at the art table. Earlier she had asked me to stay for a bit and read a book. Ruby and I sat with her and, after a few minutes, she smiled and said. “OK mom, I love you. Give me a kiss. You and Ruby can go now.” And so we embraced. I held her wondrous little kid frame, inhaled, pressed my cheek to hers and whispered I love you so much. I left, Ruby on my hip and a little sad to leave her sister, Margot all pigtails and giggles, writing her name with a red marker. In charge.


33 Responses to the second first day

  1. Tina says:

    For real, Margot… stop growing! I seriously can not believe how BIG she seems now. No more baby face, no more chunky knuckles on her hands… oh it is so bittersweet, isn’t it?

    My oldest daughter starts school again next week and I’ll probably lose my mind just like I did last year. It must get easier eventually… right?

  2. She’s so pretty!

  3. Stop already! My son is only 2, and I’m already dreading this moment. My heart aches…being a mom hurts so good.

  4. The cookie with the back-of-the-junk-mail-envelope note from daddy really got me choked up!

  5. Maria says:

    You’re raising beautiful, awesome girls, Mama!

  6. Sarah says:

    This is **excactly** how my daughter is….she’s going into 2nd grade tomorrow, and I’m in awe over her independence, confidence, and growth. How did that little baby that made me a mama 7 years ago turn into this honest to goodness PERSON!?!? What an amazing transformation…and this is just the beginning!

    My second baby starts kindergarten on Tuesday next week, and he is more of the quiet, reserved, cautious type….even though he has been at the school volunteering with me for the last 2 years, I’m wondering how his transition to kindy will go. No doubt, having his big sister march him around the school as if she owns the place will be a great help!

    Happy back to school Margot! :)

  7. PapillionMom says:

    I felt that heave a couple weeks ago. I drove my kids to school for their first day. This year though, I dropped off a freshman for her first day in high school. Where oh where did my little girl go? Sigh.

    Margot’s hoodie is adorable :-)

  8. This is awesome. You should be so proud. It’s hard to swallow their independence sometimes but then you realize you have given them the gift of confidence.

  9. Dana says:

    so cute!! what an awesome kid!

  10. Jaim says:

    E starts first grade tomorrow and she is so excited and I am too but there’s some sad mixed in there too. It really is hard, this motherhood gig.

    I still have the skirt you made for her for her first day of Kindergarten. Maybe Sigrid will wear it when she starts preschool on Tuesday.

    Happy first day of school Margot and welcome to the new phase mama. I’m sure you’ll rock this stage just like all the others.


  11. Alanah. says:

    I have followed you for a few years and not commented before (I also follow you on IG, I LOVE your photos there). THose last two photos are amazing, she looks so grown up! I also have a very independent almost 3 year old boy starting Kindy next year who is beside himself, I am still not sure how I am going to let him go, but your words sum the feeling up perfectly.

  12. DeRae says:

    My son and daughter started school today, too. I thought it was going to be totally fine and tearless. I got teary eyed when I saw how shy she was, and spent my entire day worrying about her and how she was doing. If she was making new friends or not. Worrying she’d be all alone. Then finding out my son’s best friend moved out of state…It was a hard day.
    I hope Margot loves school, and I’m glad she has friends there. I think that’s always been my biggest worry being a bit of an outcast.
    Your blog posts always make my day. Thank you!

  13. Jill F says:

    “my body has a physical reaction to her growth”. Wow, I could never work out how to describe that feeling but you do it perfectly! When I dropped my little girl off at 2nd grade this week she requested I stay in the car because she was way to big to have her mom walk her in. It was like taking a bullet.

  14. KWQR says:

    My body has a physical reaction to her growth, just like it did when she grew from a cashew to a pumpkin, just like it did when it contracted and pushed her into the world…” YES! That is it… sometimes I swear my c-section scar burns a little when I see my littlest little guy do something big. Taking my oldest to 1st grade this year was the same kind of thing… feeling so proud & in awe of this whole person who was once inside my body. Go Margot!

  15. Wesley says:

    You have obviously done so many things right in the parenting department. It isn’t easy building such confidence in young kids!! Hope her “second first day” went wonderful!

  16. Ali says:


    Clever writing, clever mummy. Not to mention clever daddy, and clever parenting. Equals clever family.

    You have much to be proud of. It is right that you blog and write publicly, you really are quite inspirational.

    Thanks for sharing your stories and inspiring us,
    Ali in Switz

  17. The Lady says:

    She is one to be proud of! I taught preschool for five years and encouraging independence was the number one lesson we tried to teach.

  18. TRB Holt says:

    What a doll! I went back to the “first Day” 2011…..can you believe how she has grown?!

    Margot you absolutely have my heart wrapped around your little finger…I Love You A Bushel & A Peck!

    xoxo, Gram

  19. Daniele says:

    I get this- my first baby has her “second first day” next week too!!

  20. bonjour! says:

    ,,,margot: the sweetest “upperclassman” i’ve ever seen! and why would it surprise me that she wants to be “in charge”, of course she does. margot, she’s going places,,,

  21. Melissa says:

    yes, isn’t the second year of preschool great? where they get to be the “big kids,” and the school is so familiar?

    sweet Avi is also thrilled for his second year at Gan Shalom . . . and I am briefly enjoying the smoothness until I start worrying about the big first day of K we will have next year! xo!

  22. Ellie says:

    So cute and so grown-up!

  23. Awwwww!! Juniper starts preschool just as soon as she turns 3 in October and I’m too excited for her to feel it in my body–yet. She, too, is a happy, ambitious extrovert.
    I love seeing what she picks for lunch and dress, and Andy’s cookie with the sloppy-dad handwriting! So cute.

  24. aww, so adorable. I will be new to this in just a short two weeks, and don’t know how i’m gonna deal. I love your confidence and how it is displayed through your children. Maybe you can channel some of it to me on the 11th, k?

  25. I adore your Margot. Her outfit is adorable, love her quotes and personality via your writing! xx

  26. Kelly Cach says:

    I love to pack lunches for my kids, too!!! I’ve heard so many times recently how moms dread packing the lunch box, but I find great joy in feeding my kids. Of course, it helps they are not picky eaters.

    A little tidbit: My husband is “famous” ’round these parts for his chocolate chip cookies……and he’s an electrical engineer by trade. Interesting, huh? Funny that those two things would go together :)

    Your Margot SHINES!

  27. Such a vibrant, confident, wise little lady is Margot.
    I lover her spirit. It’s kinda inspiring.
    P.S. She’s grown so much this past summer. GORGEOUS!!!

  28. this made my heart happy!

  29. Oh Margot how you’re growing. Your face – oh my has it matured so. You’re a girl now -the big girl type. And you’re simply awesome for walking into school with such confidence.

    Mama, I hear ya with the body ache. We had our second first day of preschool this year. And my girl is shy in comparison to Margot, but was comfortable. Absolutely had to start the day by saying hello to her teacher from last year, Mrs. Roloff. And in a moment, Alex went from sheepish to confident. She knew the hallways, she knew the teachers. And then we learned that every Friday her class cooks, and she turned to me and said, “I really like Friday’s.”

    I really don’t think these first days are going to prepare us for the first day of kindergarten next year. I’m going to be a hot mess. How can my baby grow so?


  30. gelka says:

    So adorable is she!

    Sending my oldest to kindergarten two weeks ago was emotionally one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do…thankfully he was more than ready, handled it like a rockstar and can’t wait to go back every day. But still…I’m left to lament – where has time gone?

  31. I can completely relate. In fact, I teared up. How you said you physically feel it when you look at her and realize she’s growing, or something just hits you on how much you love her. Watching my firstborn (Ruby!) does the very same thing. Like I love her so much it hurts sometimes.

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