Well the first day of school is here and thankfully I slept a bit last night despite stressing over which teacher my child would end up with this crucial grade three year. This year I didn’t embarrass anyone with a tearful good-bye. Payton, my eight-year-old sensitive, bright, mostly easy-going girl, bounced out of bed this morning ready to go, got all suited up in her new Hannah Montana style ensemble. She quickly determined that she was in the class she wanted with several friends she knows well and, bonus, she got the teacher she wanted too. Then she essentially waved me away. Bye Mom, ready to go now. Now don’t get me wrong I am so happy to have one child who adjusts simply and loves school. But I will miss summer and I will miss her too. I know she’s not moving out yet or anything, but part of me loves to hold her close, to plan fun summer adventures and surprises and trips. Payton is a great kid, creative and fun and a joy to be around, well most of the time. (Her sister might have a different take on this.) From the time Payton was a baby I was the Mommy who always said I am going to celebrate the day she starts school because I will be so happy for my daughter, excited for her, just at the idea of so much potential for learning and such a great adventure. Remember learning about life cycles for the first time and how tadpoles grow to become frogs? Remember too the fun math sheets followed by big red stars, field trips and birthday parties? Remember the first time you got to build a story illustrated by you? It is funny and surreal how fast they grow up. Not so long ago it seems my sweet little four-year-old marched down the street to the junior kindergarten. Her first day of school. We made it a big family moment, walked to the school together, did all of the pre-entry visits and the prep work before the actual day. We took pictures. I gave her big hugs and then she simply said: “Bye Mom, see you later.” And off she vanished behind closed doors. Mommy might have been okay if I hadn’t looked up to see my neighbour and friend Judy looking at me with great empathy. Despite my best intentions there I was crying big fat Mommy tears, both happy and sad, the kind I never knew existed before I became a Mom. And I wouldn’t trade them for all the millions and zillions of dollars in the world.