I am emotional.
Yesterday was the first day of school for my girls.
Ally started 2nd grade.
And it was Jessi's first day of Kindergarten.
Back to school looks different in our house than in many homes. We are not just sending our precious little ones back to school...we are sending "Diabetes Back to School." I have done MUCH preparation to make sure that Ally and her school are ready for this school year to begin. (But I won't bore you here with those details...yet!)
We have a tradition in our house. I always read the story of The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn to my girls before they go back to school. In the story, Chester Raccoon doesn't want to go to school. He wants to stay home with his mommy. While neither of my girls seemed to be like Chester - they were both so excited about the first day of school, I did feel sad...wishing I could just keep them home with me!
"Sometimes we all have to do things we don't want to do," she told him gently. "Even if they seem strange and scary at first." I got tears and choked up when I read those words this time....
As the story continues...
Mrs. Raccoon kisses Chester in the center of his hand and tells him that whenever he feels lonely to just press his hand to his cheek and think 'Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.' Chester knew that his mother's love would go with him wherever he went. I put a kiss in each of my girls' hands as they headed off to school, hoping that they too would think 'Mommy loves me. Mommy loves me.' if they felt lonely or scared.
I hope that my kissing hand is enough to ease any of their fears...but I don't think it's enough to ease mine. I also said some prayers as I sent them on their way. Please God keep them safe. Please give the staff at Ally's school the strength and knowledge to keep her safe for every.single.minute. that she is away from me...All 480 of them (minutes, that is)!