Today was Elaina and Gabriella’s first day of school. Elaina started 1st grade and Gabriella started Kindergarten, and it was the first day that they would both be going to the same (real) school together, Colonel Johnston Elementary School. While it is certainly sad seeing my little girls grow up, I could not be more proud of them. Thankfully, the months and months they spent waiting for this day were definitely worth it.
To say that the girls were excited for their first day of school would be a severe understatement. Right after I picked them up in Texas, they ask me if school was starting the day we got back. As we were out shopping for new clothes, they asked me if they were going straight to school afterwards. This continued all the way up to last night, where they finally seemed to understand that the big day was only a short rest away.
They still managed to surprise me though. I wake up every morning at 4:15am to shave and change for Army Physical Readiness Training at 5am, but not this morning. Today, I was awakened by Elaina knocking on my door at 4:10am. As I told her it was okay to come in my room, she walked in with her blanket and a couple stuffed animals and simply asked, “Is it time for school yet?” I had to laugh at that one. Especially after Gabriella asked too, only about five minutes behind her. Their morning caregiver arrived, I went running, then came back to start getting them ready for their big day. First and foremost, this meant coffee for me and a hearty breakfast for them.
After I served Elaina her egg sandwich and Gabriella her sausage links, grapes, and “healthy” chocolate milk, I let the girls watch some television while I double- and triple-checked their stuff for school.
We had packed their lunches the night before, so at least I did not have to worry about them this morning. They both got to choose their main meal, fruit, snack, and dessert, with me knowing that they were only going to eat about half of it. Usually Elaina ate her meals from the school cafeteria, but today I wanted them both to feel special by bringing their lunches.
And I had to make time to write them special notes for their lunches on the first day (I got a chuckle from Elaina, who told me that I forgot to write “you” on the card; she returned the laugh when I unfolded the paper in front of her). I also packed a photo of the three of us at Walt Disney World in each of their backpacks, telling them to bring it out if they ever felt a little scared at school (apparently, this worked really well, as Gabriella told me she brought out the picture a couple times while in class).
I then did their hair, which they both wanted in pigtails for their first day (even got a solid fist bump from my boss later in the day, who was thoroughly impressed that I can fix their hair on my own). After packing the car with the supplies for their classrooms, we took the dozens of obligatory pictures for the Familia.
And a video for their mother (I tried to get them to call her, but they were just too excited to get to school).
Since I had already been in contact with their teachers, they let me know what the girls should be looking for to find the right classroom. Gabriella’s classroom had a green frog symbol out front, while Elaina’s had a “Welcome to First Grade” banner on its bulletin board. I printed off matching symbols on cardstock for the girls to reference so that they could find their classrooms easier (later that day, they were quick to tell me that the signs did nothing, as they were escorted right to their classrooms… I tried).
As we pulled up to the school, we had to wait in the drop-off line for five whole minutes; to the girls, this seemed like an eternity. Were they that anxious to get rid of me?!?
We finally pulled up to the curb, the girls put their masks on, and they hopped out of the car. After I was forgotten by Elaina (I am sure she was just excited), Gabriella turned around to say goodbye to me. I tried my best to keep in the waterworks.
After the faculty took their temperatures, the girls were escorted into the school. Elaina did a great job of walking with Gabriella, where she proceeded to point everything out to her, including the kinder playground and where her classroom should be (from what I could tell). Very proud of Elaina being a great big sister for Gabriella’s first day at a “big kid’s” school. And after drop-off, I headed off to work.
As the school day came to a close, I came back to pick up my girls at “car loop.” As always, Elaina jumped up and started waving when she saw me; Gabriella, taking a queue from her big sister, immediately followed suit. To say that they had a great day would again be a severe understatement, as they talked and talked about it all the way home. We stopped at the house to get them a snack (and so I could get hugs), and after listening to a few more stories of their day, it was off to the Seifert After-School Center. It was Gabriella’s first time here as well, and Elaina continued to be a great big sister by walking Gabby to her classroom.
When I picked the girls up later that day, I got absolutely bombarded with hugs. Even though they had a great time at school and the after-school center, they apparently really missed their Dad. After Gabriella’s choice of dinner (Burger King? Again? Really?), the girls played a little on the trampoline, I read to them, and then they passed out early for the night. I will consider this a successful first day of school. The girls had a great time, there were no incidents that required me to pick them up early, and they ate most of their lunch. All in all, we could not have asked for a better start to the school year.
Thanks for checking in on us.