First Day of School

This is the new normal.

The new normal is watching my daughter, who is turning 8 in a month, looking at herself in the mirror this morning, with her first day of school outfit on, and her hair brushed, and her new found interest in her appearance, and feeling like I need to say out loud "she's growing up so fast. I can't deal with this. Do you remember when she was three with yogurt all over her face? Do you remember her wearing diapers? Do you remember how curly her hair used to be?"

But I have nobody to say that to. And she only has me to tell her she looks beautiful.

The new normal is watching my daughter get on the school bus as she goes to third grade at a new school, and worrying and worrying and worrying.

Will she be ok? Will she make friends? Will children be talking about their families on the first day? Will she be embarrassed of who she is and that she only has a mommy and please please please let her not be embarrassed. Please let her feel normal. Please let her not feel like crying today in her new classroom, surrounded by her new classmates who will hopefully be her friends.

My new normal is standing with my two year old as we wave goodbye to my daughter's school bus, as he jumps up and down and says "Come, bus! Come! Bye bye bus!" and watching him continue to wave to the bus for three minutes after it disappears around the corner of our block. My new normal is hearing the words my baby is now using, listening to the sentences he is starting to put together, and being so proud, but feeling so lonely in that pride.

The new normal is me going to my son's kindergarten orientation on his first day of school as a widow mom, meeting his teacher by myself, filling out first day of school forms with one parent's name, and writing, under the "tell us anything you think we should know about your child" section:

"My son lost his father to suicide last summer. He does not know the cause. He is doing ok, but please let me know if you see anything that is of concern or that needs my attention. Please call me any time."

The new normal is a first day of school that feels like a milestone that is weird and unshared. And trying to be strong. And trying not to cry. And trying like hell to make the new normal as normal as possible.

I know my husband would have wanted to be living today. I know he would.

Comments

  1. Wishing my own mother were still here to give you some word of wisdom and comfort. She could have told you how she got through those early years, alone with a little girl and a baby.
    What I can tell you is that you will be strong, you will make mistakes, and you will all survive and thrive.
    Live long and prosper.

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  2. I've a nephew who was 4 and he is the most wonderful human being on the planet. Im with Susan - they will get through it and so will you. Im so sorry for your loss and your pain

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  3. Whenever I like or re-tweet a Twitter post, I try to check the profile to make sure it's not a bot, Nazi or asshole. I realized I like a lot of yours and in checking your profile, saw the link to the blog. ...I couldn't stop reading. I read all the posts this afternoon. At first I thought I was behaving like someone who can't look away from a car wreck, but then I realized it's the writing. Really great writing. Sorry it's probably for therapeutic purposes, but I hope it works for you. Good luck to you and those kids. And keep writing.

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    Replies
    1. I am right there with you, both of you. Jimmy, I just came to her blog through Twitter and can't stop, it IS the writing. And to the author, I can't imagine going thru what you are going thru as a mom with young children. But my husband of 35 years divorced me a couple years ago, and I can relate to the 'i don't have anyone to share it with', the concerns about kids, etc. WE, your Twitter and blog family, are hear to listen. And I can say from experience that life sure does go on, along this new and unexpected path, and there are marvelous moments of joy and happiness mixed in with all the doubts and challenges. Hugs.

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  4. I'm gutted. Keep being brave, you are inspiring me to face my fears.

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  5. Daughter is 17 tomorrow. Thinking back or looking at old pics, I feel about 1,000,000 years old, but also that she was just headed off to 1st grade last week.

    Be as present with them in every minute as you can be, it seems it all goes by in a heartbeat when you look back later.

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  6. I remember Em in diapers wearing yogurt. HUGS

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  7. Hit me up if you need a sounding board:
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    @JohnMiehoff22 on Twitter

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  8. Thank you for sharing from the heart. God Bless you and those kids. And you're right. He would have wanted to see all of it.

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  9. It's been four years since I lost my wife far too young. All I can think of is all the things I have done since then that she never knew about. She never knew that I started and finished a second Master's degree and started a new career. She never knew that I created a comic strip. She never knew that I moved to a new state.

    I know she would have wanted to see those, too. So someone out in cyberspace definitely understands where you're coming from.

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