Do you know what today is? Today is the first day of kindergarten. Today fifteen or twenty or nineteen children will file into the elementary school down the street, some crying, their mothers tightly clutching their hands before they have to say goodbye. There will be new pencils, and a freshly markered message at the meeting rug. Children's names will encircle the classroom, carefully written by the caring teacher sometime in the last week as she prepares for her new students to arrive. There will be one name missing, and nobody will even know.
This morning as I make my children their breakfast, as Liam pads outside to snip fresh chives, as the eggs cook in the pan, I will be noticing what I'm not doing. It has been awhile since I have been able to say, with decision, what I would have been doing with Charlotte on a given day. But today, I am fairly certain, I know. I would have taken her to school for the first time.
Of course I can't be sure of this. Already I'm wavering about Liam next year, if I can bear to send him away from me for seven hours a day, why I would want to do this, why some other person should steal my right to spend our days together. But it is my inkling that most of this possessiveness is a result of losing Charlotte; if I had been sending her, I think we would have gone.
So, my lost daughter, today I need not relinquish you: for you are already gone to me. Another milestone come and gone. I wonder what your would-be friends will do, what they will play, what will make them laugh. And I will think of you, as I always do.