"Have you packed your book bag?"
"The English assignments you did over the summer?"
"Check." (It was laid out on her floor.)
"Including your new bra?"
"Do I really have to wear that thing?"
"You will be dressing and undressing in front of a lot of other girls for gym class. So I think you do."
[sullenly] "Okay. Check."
"Did you brush your teeth the way the orthodontist told you? Is your alarm set for 6:00 a.m.? "
And with that, I kissed my baby girl good night. This morning, she would start her new life as a middle schooler.
"Will you walk me in tomorrow?" she asked sleepily.
I didn't think she would want that. When I was her age and beginning junior high, I wanted to get as far away from my parents as possible.
"Of course I will." Anything she wants.
Except leaving the camera at home. I have taken her picture on the first day of school ever since her very first day of school. She doesn't like it.
"Look, we're across the street. No one can see us. Let me take it now."
She scowled through several shots before she finally cracked a smile large enough to see the new braces she acquired five days ago. This certainly has been a week for milestones.
As we approached the school, I noticed other parents walking their kids in. "Those must be the other sixth graders," I said. Megan grunted.
I pointed to a dad who was carrying a really large camera. "Look, he's embarrassing his kid, too!" I said.
I always tell her that as her parent, it is my job to embarrass her. And I must be a very good parent, because I am so successful at it.
Once in the school grounds, we ran into another of her friends. Together, we looked up their homerooms. My daughter is upset; everyone she knows is together in a different room. Of course, they will all be making new friends -- I'm just grateful we got into this school where she will have good buddies to hang out with during breaks and lunch.
The school has just undergone a major earthquake renovation and the hall with the homerooms was closed when we visited for orientation last week, so Megan asked me to help her find her room. I know this school pretty well, having attended here myself 37 years ago. The administration hallway has pictures of graduating classes going all the way to when the school opened back in 1966 (I was the class of 1970). On our two previous visits, we lingered over my class photo for a while, until we found the 14-year-old version of myself, staring sullenly into the camera.
"That was so long ago, your picture is in black and white!" Megan marveled.
Yes, it was a very long time ago. I've been through so much since then.
My daughter's new adventure starts now.