First Day of School!

“I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,

But more than anything, more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too.”

Every time I start to write about today my eyes fill with tears once again. Today has been EXHAUSTING on so many levels. Today, BOTH kids got on the bus. Just like that, they were gone. I cried with Jenelle for a few minutes, then I got into my car. I cried on the way home, then I relaxed. I called Nate and I cried again. Then, I took a deep breath. Jenelle called once more to tell me how thankful she is for me, which is the most incredible thing to hear. (Cue crying once again.) Then, my special friendy Ali called just to check on me. She sent her little one to pre-school for the first time, and we bonded about the hopes and the fears, and I cried once more. I think around eleven o’clock I was finally done. I finally had some peace about the situation. 

As much as I hated to see John go, we had done this before. When I started watching them John was at pre-school five days a week. And so when school came, it was a different feeling. I cried only a little bit because he was SO happy. My fear for him was more about, will he have the confidence? The amount he changed last summer was huge, so he got right on there and waved from his window, and I remember thinking that he grew up. In that minute it took to walk to the bus stop, walk on the bus, and sit in his seat, he grew. He was fine. More importantly, he was SO excited… he was a totally different kid then the one that I met seven months before! And down to my right side was Jenna, waving at her brother and even continuing to wave as the bus drove away. She followed it to the end of the sidewalk. Then she looked at me and said, “I wish I could go! I want to go to school with bud!” And I said, “Next year, babe.” And I remember thinking that is so far away. Thank goodness!

When I first became Jenna and John’s nanny Jenna was three. She went to pre-school only twice a week, and last year I home-schooled her. So, for a year, it’s been just Jenna and I, ten hours a day. To say that she became my sidekick and best friend is an understatement. Her and I went through multiple growing pains together. Helping to raise a three year old IS NOT easy. It’s really, really hard actually. Four got a little easier, and five has been even better. I’ve had the ability to help raise two (sometimes three) great kids. Jenna, however, is so different from John. She has more confidence than any child I’ve ever met. She’s FUNNY. SO FUNNY. And she’s bright, and sweet, and fearless. She’s that friend that all of her friends love because she does and says all of the things her friends wish they had the confidence to do and say. A lot of times they end up following her lead. This ends up either being absolutely hilarious, or humiliating. Sometimes I have to look at a parent and say, “Sorry about that.” I love her for that, you know? I love how she’s ready to take on anything that comes her way. Sometimes I almost wish she had a fear or two, just so she would hold on to me a little longer.

Last week I said to John, “Buddy! I can come have lunch again with you this year! Do you think that’s a good idea?” “YES!” he said. Then he wrapped his arms around me and squeezed me as tight as he could. “Jenna, I can come have lunch with you too!” “Yeah” she says (not exactly the reaction I was looking for) “But, Lauren? Sometimes I’m going to want to eat with my friends. So, sometimes I’ll just want to eat with them okay?” My heart sank. Believe me when I say that it took everything in me to not start crying right then and there. “What do you mean?” I say, as a concerned look takes over my entire face. “Just sometimes, Lauren.” She didn’t mean it meanly. I knew that, but it stung. John would NEVER say something like that to me. But that’s Jenna, she’s just honest. And to her, she wants to experience the independence first. 

Today, she hugged me a million times and told me she’d miss me. She told me she loved me over and over. She was excited, and I didn’t want my tears to ruin that for her. When we got to the bus stop she hugged her momma and gave her a kiss, then ran to me and gave me a kiss. I didn’t want to let go of her. I gave John a kiss and reminded him to have a wonderful day, but he had a “I’ve done all of this before” attitude that was too cute to ignore. When Jenna got on and sat in her seat she looked out the window. She waved to her mommy, and she waved to me, and then she just smiled. And a million things went through my head. 

I hope I prepared her
I hope she has a good day
I hope she makes lots of friends
Oh please let everyone be nice to her
Please let her be nice to others
Was I good enough for them?
Did I teach them enough?
Did I cherish all of my moments?
I hope they both know how much I love them
I really hope that this prepares me for my own children
this is painful
Maybe I should have taken them to Splashdown one last time
Maybe we should have read a little more
I hope John Parker guides her through the school
What if she doesn’t let him guide her? (that’s true Jenna fashion)
I wish I could squeeze them both once more
I love John’s haircut and his shoes
I love that he’s in the same class as his best friend
Is it bad that Jenna doesn’t know anyone yet?
She’ll have five friends by the time she gets home
She’ll thrive
I’m so excited for them both
I wonder if she’ll just forget about me…

That was the hard one. The one I dreaded for weeks. I know that it sounds ridiculous. Even when I’ve said it out loud to people I follow the comment by saying, “I know that sounds stupid but…” With Jenna being as confident as she is, my fear has more so been that she just won’t need me anymore, or won’t care about me as much. I am, after all, the nanny. I’m not her mom, or her dad, or her brother. I mouth to her, “I love you” as the bus drives away.

What is exciting is that I’m now, officially, a full-time photographer. I get to live the best of both worlds. I’ll get them ready for school, get them off the bus, I’ll spend their half-days with them, and they’ll have plenty of breaks and teacher work days that I get to spend with them as well. During the day I can edit, and have shoots. This is good, this transition. I know that because of this I’ll be able to give myself fully to them and cherish the hours that I do have. I won’t ever have to think about other work when I’m with them, and that makes me so happy and excited for what’s to come. So, today, I came home and I edited. and I made a schedule of blog posts because let’s be honest, I’ve been slacking in the blogging department. 

Jenna and John’s grandmother is in town, and though she gave me the afternoon off, I just couldn’t imagine waiting until tomorrow morning to hug them, kiss them, and ask them about their day. So, I went to the bus stop. As soon as the bus pulled in the driver said, “Kindergartener’s first!” Second in line was Jenna. She stood at the top step and looked around at all of the adults waiting for their kid. Then finally, she locked eyes with me. “Lauren!!!!” She ran down and gave me the biggest hug. The best hug. I kissed her face, and I realized. “I still got it. She still loves me and needs me, and all is right in the world.”

Both kids had a wonderful day. I got lots of hugs and kisses and smiles. These two are going to change the world. They’ve already changed mine…. I hope you’re ready for them.

Leave me some love!