Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The First Day

It's quiet now. I've started to wake up with Greg, at 5 AM, to find a few hours of peace in my day. It has been a week now. I find I am just as tired as I am at 6:30 when the little ones arise, except that I can quietly drink coffee, check my e-mail, or read a magazine instead of rushing right into my day with a bang. It works very well, for now.

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.


Meg said...

Oh Carol,
I am so sad reading this. I am so sorry for your profound loss and I wish there was something I could do. As it is, my daughter started 1st grade yesterday and I came in the house and cried. I don't know what to say to convey how I feel for you. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Rebecca said...

Usually I can read your poignant points and not tear up but this one caught me. I think it is because my boy is home sick with his daddy for the second day in a row while I am the one to come to work. I think you must shake your head in wonder and ask how any mother could leave her child, even in the good hands of daddy, not to mention at daycare for eight hours a day as is our norm. Your writing always reminds me how precious our children are and today, because mine feels especially precious, I am sad but at least I am able to come home to him. I will look differently at those kids lined up to go into schools today and see Charlotte among them. Thank you for letting us think of her too.

AnnaMarie said...

How sad. How beautifully expressed.

I don't comment much on your blog since we are in such different places of the lost baby time line but I like to read your perspective. Had things worked out differently I would have a five month old right now. It's kind of horrifying to think that I'll still be mourning on some level even after 5 years, even if I am ever lucky enough to have a living child to raise. I guess it helps though to realize that other women continue to grieve but still have full and happy lives.

Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts on what would have been the first day of kindergarten.

Shannon said...

I've been thinking a lot lately that Isabella would be almost 1 year old at the end of this month. I think a lot of the milestone that I have already missed, and the many many more in the years to come.

As always you know exactly how to put your feelings into words and make such beauty.

THAT GIRL said...

Beautiful. You will know those moments that are empty... you are her mother. You write so eloquently.

Heather said...

Wow, that made me so sad.

My little nephew started school this week and I hadn't done the math until now to realize that your Charlotte should be that age.

The milestones are the hardest, I think. Thank you for letting us into yours.