I’m not ready for this day. I glance over at my husband and am not surprised to hear him snoring. The alarm clock didn’t wake him; a tornado could strike and he’d sleep through it! There is no need to delay the inevitable. It is Jessie’s first day of school. I have to face the facts. My baby girl is no longer a baby.
I wrap my chenille robe around my quivering body and step into my slippers. I catch a glimpse of myself in the dresser mirror and cringe. I have to make an appointment and get my hair cut! I make my way to the bathroom and run a comb through my lifeless locks. It’s useless! I grab a hair clip and pull the wispy ends together at the nape of my neck. After washing my face and hands in comforting hot water I head to the kitchen.
Mornings are supposed to be the best time of the day. I remember when I set the alarm a little earlier; so I could spend quiet time with the Lord before my husband and daughter woke up. I’m not sure when or why I let that drift away. I have no good excuse; I just decided to sleep in. I start the coffee and pull open the blinds. It’s raining, oh not this morning! It can’t rain on her very first day of kindergarten! I turn on the weather channel for “Wake up with Al.” He cheerfully points out our area on the map and recommends umbrellas for commuters. I mumble thanks for nothing and turn off the TV.
Jessie made me promise I’d wake her as soon as I got up. I will keep my word even if I’d rather forget school and keep her home with me. Her door is open just enough for me to sneak a peak at her sleeping snuggled up with her favorite doll. She always cared for her dolls like a real little mother. I remember her clinging to them for security when she spent her days at child care. I wish they gave a manual with simple instructions when we become a parent. Slowly I approach her bed and rub her supple warm cheek. “It’s time to wake up Jessie. You don’t want to be late for your first day of school.” Her rosy cheeks and curly blond hair match her personality. How did I get such a beautiful child?
“Mommy, is it morning? I dreamed about school and making new friends. I’m not going to be afraid. I will like school. I will like it. Mommy, I am afraid, just a little bit.” She hugged me and I tickled her under her arms until she giggled. That’s my girl!
“Jessie, it’s raining outside.”
“Mommy, that’s OK. God sends the rain so the flowers can grow.”
I’m glad the rain didn’t bother her. She always sees the brighter side of things.
“Jessie, watch cartoons while I run your bath water. What do you want for breakfast?”
“I want McDonald's!”
“No Happy Meals today. Do you want me to make French toast?”
“Yes, I like French toast!”
“How about hot chocolate, too? It would be nice on such a damp morning.”
“Yes. Mommy, what station is the Cartoon Channel?”
I find the channel for her and leave to run her bath water. You’d think her father would be up already. This is her big day. I’ll wait until the pancakes are ready and then send her in to wake him up. The rest of the morning I rushed around like I prepared for my first day on a new job. Her Daddy played with her and the dog and acted like Jessie’s leaving the nest is the most natural thing in the world. The clock is my enemy! Why does time go so fast when you need it to stand still?
Her Daddy looks me squarely in the eye and gave the final verdict.
“I think its time we go out and wait for the school bus.”
I know he is right. We dress for the rainy conditions and I unlock the door to Jessie’s new freedom. Children gather at our street corner. The yellow school bus turns the corner and Jessie walks up the steps of the bus in her yellow rain coat and hat. “Goodbye Mommy!”
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