My girls and I started school this week. I started my fifteenth year as a high school teacher, Kern started sixth grade, Savannah is now in third, Shelby moved into first, and Alani is officially in school with Kindergarten.
We are now represented in the high school, middle school, and elementary schools in our town. All of us were both excited about the start of school and sad to see our summer of lounging around the pool come to an end.
On Tuesday, I skipped my first period of class to take the three youngest to their first day of the new year. With four daughters, I am often baffled by the differences in personalities that they all posses. One might assume that growing up with the same parents and same environment, there would be more similarities in my children.
Savannah was a veteran of the whole process, Shelby was terrified and crying the whole time, and Alani was... Alani.
She could not be more different than the other three. She is fearless, independent, incredibly intelligent, possesses a sense of humor way beyond her years, and has battled and overcome an addiction of using a foul tongue she inherited from her father. Basically, Alani has no idea she is 5-years-old.
When her mother and I walked her into the Kindergarten class on Tuesday, we were surrounded by other munchkins clinging to their father or mother's leg. Alani simply looked around the room, took a few steps away from me, and quickly turned back and looked up.
"You OK, baby?" I said.
"Yep. You guys can go now. I'll see you after school. OK, Dad?"
What? She didn't want us to stick around until class actually started like all the parents? She might have been ready for us to leave, but I wasn't ready to go.
"Well babe, I think your Mom wants to wait here with you for awhile. It is your first day of real school and all."
"OK Dad, but I am going to walk around and check it out."
After 20 minutes of waiting to meet her teacher, I left Alani and she didn't seem all that concerned with my exit. She sat down at her desk, opened a book, and started to thumb through the pages.
With that, my youngest and last daughter to enter school was ready to get started. It didn't seem to matter to her that I wasn't all that ready for her to move on to the next stage in her life.