Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Elizabeth Claire Benfield: Class of 2024

Hey everybody!

It's a bittersweet moment, dropping your daughter off at kindergarten. Not just bittersweet... the most bitter and the most sweet. Ellie, who handled the transition like a pro, was more excited than nervous (though she claimed to be both) about starting her scholastic life. Daddy, on the other hand, found it difficult to maintain composure. I didn't let on, but I was having a pretty difficult morning dealing with the sudden realization that so much is about to change.

I mean, what the crap?? She's my little baby. She used to barely be able to hold up her little head, now she's off to school with a backpack and a lunchbox?

Okay, and get this... she's decided to go by "Elizabeth" now - she ditched "Ellie" as she tries out the new, sophisticated name. It's very symbolic, don't you think? This is, however, one grown-up change I can handle.

Now, for the important stuff... the first-day-of-school outfit!! I got scads of input (thank you!) and #1 was the overwhelming winner, with outfit #2 being reserved for picture day - couldn't agree more. Ellie, er, Elizabeth had to have a mini-photo shoot to commemorate the day.

We ended the shoot outside her school, which is the exact same school I attended my first kindergarten class (and Meredith too!)...

Then it was time to head to the classroom (enter lump in throat). My worries were eased with this fun old-school (literally, old... school...) decoration right behind Elizabeth's seat.

And my sweet girl, backpack in tow...

Us as we say our goodbyes...

And then my view of her as I leave the classroom. ((sigh))

It's really hard for me to wrap my brain around what is happening. I guess like Elizabeth, I'm excited and nervous. However, I think nerves outweigh my excitement. Not being with her to explain why so-and-so acts a certain way, or giving a better definition of some term discussed by the teacher, or encouraging her to be herself without being afraid of rejection... did I already teach her enough to get by on her own? Did I prepare her for whatever is going to happen today? Did I teach her to ask for help if she needs it? Which lessons stuck with her?

So many uncertainties. Parents, does this doubt ever go away? Does this overwhelming desire to protect lighten up?

Talk to you soon,
Dale

P.S. Tomorrow, we're back in the wedding world as I share Casey and Andrew's wedding!

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