Today I thought I had first day jitters because it is my first day going back to teach at the local college. I was up late last night and again early this morning getting out all the clothes and packing lunches and school bags so nothing would go wrong and prevent me from getting to my class on time.
When I parked on campus, I found my stomach was in knots and I felt very anxious. I happened to glance behind me in the car, and I realized that I wasn’t feeling anxiety over my first lecture. For that, I was more than prepared and even excited. I was anxious because I was in an empty car. Because for the first time in my experience as a mom of four, all my little babies were in school. My two youngest started preschool today—the baby for the first time ever. And looking back at their empty car seats made me feel a rush of different emotions.
I feel guilty because they are in preschool young—even though it is only a few hours, two days a week. I feel worried they might get sick or need me while I’m away. I feel happy that they are making new friends, and excited they will learn new things. And I’m sure that as we settle into the schedule, I will be thrilled to have a few fleeting hours of semi-peace to fill as I see fit. But right now, I see empty car seats that signify that my little peanut gallery is empty.
I am typing this from the school parking lot. Because after my class, I went directly to the school—not stopping at home or for food—because I can’t wait to see how their first day went. I know that as a mom I will experience many firsts as my children grow and face new challenges. So here is today’s first photo—mom in an empty car. Time to go fill it up again.