Today was different than other first days. The girls were excited. Our time at home was relaxed and slow. We got out of the house a few minutes later than we’d wanted. We showed up to a very full parking lot. We got some rushed photos near the school sign. We went into Alma’s classroom, where the circle time had already started. I told her to go find her name on the floor without a hug or a kiss or anything. She sat by her teacher and got to be the first calendar helper. We waved and exchanged some excited, nervous smiles. We took a grumpy Harriet out to the playground, where her class begins their day. We dropped off bike helmets and extra clothes. We showed Harriet how she can still look in Alma’s window to wave to her. Then we left. On our way down the hallway, we could see Harriet, peeking in at Alma, no longer grumpy. We walked back to campus together. Now I am sitting at a table in near silence, enjoying the solitude, looking forward to nine whole months of time that I know the kids are being enriched, socialized, educated, and loved. And looking forward to nine whole months of time that I spend by myself, thinking, planning, writing, reading, walking, or with teenagers, working, teaching, talking, learning. Man do I love the first day of school.