First Last Days

Today is my last first day of school.IMG_9072.jpg
It’s my last first day and I’m thinking about the excitement of the other first days. First days meant (and still mean) a shiny bookbag, new clothes, and meticulously selected pencil cases, notebooks, and folders. First days meant showing off a tan and swapping stories of the summer’s adventures.
It’s my last first day and I’m thinking about the long line of people that got me here. The physical therapists that didn’t give up on teaching me to speak and walk. The kindergarten teacher that assigned someone to walk to the library with me because I was too small to open the door by myself. The first grade teacher that got me my own chair because I couldn’t stay seated on the floor during story time. The eight grade teacher that came to my house and helped me study the night before the final. The dance teacher that made every girl in the studio believe she was the favorite. The college professors who have handed out cell phone numbers and kept faithful office hours, always willing to help a student in need. The parents who made each first day a special day.
It’s my last first day of college and I’m thinking about the last first day of high school. There was an assembly for the whole school, the same one held every year. Kindergarteners through 11th graders would be shuffling impatiently on the bleachers, until the headmaster came to the microphone and the room stilled. We heard the words we’d been thinking of all summer, “Please rise for the seniors to enter”. It was like a wedding, everyone stood as we walked in, and then applauded as we found our seats on the front row.
Today there is no such fanfare, there is no class picture or matching t-shirts. There is just me leaving my apartment and walking with a friend to class, us both with the bittersweet knowledge that today is our last first day.

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