St. P’s kicked off the school year today. The alarm went off at 6:30, the girls were roused,1 uniforms were donned, bags were packed, and off we went. Drop off was easy.

M., as is her custom, quickly dismissed me so she could start digging through the box of supplies sitting on her desk and chat with her friends. C. quickly found her seat and did the same.2

And then we were went to the end of the hall and L.’s room.

We missed her ice cream social so this was her first meeting with her teacher, who is new to St. P’s this year. I think she was pleased that she got a teacher neither of her sisters had before her.3 We found her desk, settled her in, said hello to her friend from preschool who is in her class, and then I left her to do her thing. I could see a little nervousness in her eyes, but she’s never had a problem on the first day. She’s been so excited for school to begin, I think the reality of it was hitting her a little hard.

And since everyone has been asking me if I thought I would be emotional dropping her off for the first time, I decided to high tail it before that became the case. Surprisingly, perhaps, it was a less emotional day than a year ago, when L. burst into tears when she realized she was coming home with me rather than staying with her sisters. I hustled her out of the coffee and donuts welcome breakfast trying to keep from crying myself that morning.

This year I left dry-eyed, came home and immediately went for my first outside run since late June.

Thus ends an era in my life. I don’t know how to exactly define when I became a stay-at-home parent; was it the day M. was born, the day I turned in my resignation for my old job, or the day S. went back to work? Regardless, for the first time in just over ten years I don’t have a baby, a toddler, or a preschooler in the house with me. Today is an early dismissal day, but beginning tomorrow, I’ll have seven hours when my kid-related activities will all be laundry, grocery, and cleaning centered rather than directly keeping them busy or supervising them.

As I’ve told many of you, I’d like to find something to do with this time. Preferably something that allows me to use a keyboard to put words into documents or onto paper and helps pay the bills. But I’m still the parent responsible for picking up, dropping off, getting to and from practices and games, and dealing with inevitable sick days. In other words, I’m not looking for a 40-50 hour desk job. I’m sure I’ll start small, and hopefully sooner rather than later. But for the time being, I’ve got some time to make sure our house isn’t a complete disaster and knock out some more books each week.

Oh, and I got suckered into being the head coach for C.’s soccer team this year. Rather than run on the field with them and give them general direction, as I’ve done helping with the girls’ U8 and U6 teams, for U10 soccer I’m going to actually run practices and figure out how to coach from the sideline against other coaches who know what the hell they’re doing. So I guess I’ll be spending time ramping up my soccer knowledge and figuring out how to get kids to do the right thing without making them cry.

The district we live in started school yesterday. The girls and I made a trip to the library to do one final book exchange for the summer. It was eerie being the only parent with kids bigger than toddlers. The library is right between an elementary school and the high school, and I think a few adults gave us second looks as we walked around the deserted kids section. “No,” I wanted to say, “I’m not home schooling them. They just start tomorrow.”

So that’s that. If you have any idea what I should do next, please let me know.

  1. I heard L., I think, open her door and peek out just after 6:00. It was like Christmas morning for her. 
  2. I wish I had written down what C. wrote on the note she typed up for her teacher after getting her class assignment last week. It was something along the lines of she was excited for second grade, her big sister told her she would learn how to write in cursive and play Scrabble, and she couldn’t wait for First Communion. Then she signed it with her name and about 25 exclamation marks. 
  3. Oddly enough, thanks to regular turnover in the kindergarten, each girl has had a different teacher to begin their St. P’s career.