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The Last First Day

posted Tuesday August 14th, 2018



I couldn’t fall asleep last night. That’s unusual. Most nights I crash hard, then I’m up at 2, 3, 4, 5, finally really sleeping when the alarm goes off at 6. But last night I was prowling the house at midnight, looking for a photo from Annabelle’s first day of kindergarten.

Twelve years ago, I didn’t have an iPhone or even a digital camera. And I thought scrapbooking was for pussies. Which is why I’ve ended up with a half dozen Rubbermaid bins stuffed with photos, everything shoved in till the lid is about to pop, nothing in any sort of order. It’s on my “to do” list — organize photos. We’ll see.

I blew dust off  lids, pawing through several of the bins. I found photos from my wedding, from Annabelle’s third birthday and Sophie’s first, from dance performances and the beach and eighth grade. The closest I got to the first day of kindergarten is a class picture I’m fairly certain (judging by dental conditions — no missing teeth yet) was taken during Annabelle’s kindergarten year.

Suddenly I was envious of those moms with their tiny chalkboards that so perkily announce, “First Day of Seventh Grade!”

“I made you a bagel,” I announced to the door of Annabelle’s bedroom this morning.

“Can I have coffee?” she asked. She didn’t sleep either.

I made extra coffee and packed her lunch, a turkey sandwich with mustard, a plum, popcorn and teeny tiny chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s. I tucked a note inside, telling her how proud we are of her, and signed it from everyone in the house, including the dogs and cat, torturing myself with the reminder that I wouldn’t be doing this next year.



It’s not like I didn’t know this day was coming. We’ve spent the summer looking at colleges and talking about essays. The other day Annabelle reminded me that she got upset in eighth grade, when she realized she was getting old. She’s always been old, her soul came out that way. She is goofy and sweet and pensive and awesome.

And she is leaving. Not today, not tomorrow, and never for good, not in the ways that really matter, I know that, but someday. Someday soon. Sophie has already announced her plan to turn Annabelle’s room into her office. We laugh about it, even though I don’t find it funny at all.

I don’t scrapbook or file photos, and I don’t journal. But sometimes I send myself typo-filled emails with notes, things I want to remember. And last night I found this one, sent the day after Annabelle’s first day of kindergarten. I read it and smiled, gave up on the photo hunt, and tried to get some sleep.

From: Amy Silverman <>
Date: August 8, 2006 at 9:08:32 PM MST
To: amy silverman <>
Subject: annabelle’s first day of kindergarten

i did an inventory, that morning. most prominent freckle, just under her left eye. boo boos: yellowing bruise on her forehead, scrape on her ankle, skinned knee and elbow — unsual for her, all sustained in san francisco. new cherokee denim dress she chose herself from target. everything from target: brown/pink shoes with rhinestones, white bobby socks, hello kitto rainbow underwear. tinkerbell backpack, flowered lunch box like ciarra’s, she said when she picked it out. lunch: pb&j cut into a heart, juice box, even a day later i can’t remember the rest — grapes? lorna doones. goldfish crackers. a small pkg of gummies she didn’t touch. a note that didn’t make it home: dear annabelle, happy first day of school, love mommy and daddy, with mermaid stickers. she didn’t cry. i did, but just barely. by 9 am, it was 100 degrees.



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3 Responses to “The Last First Day”

  1. Amy, that was the best thing I could have read first thing in what is now my morning. I wish you had been my mother. Laura

  2. Good Luck Annabelle!!! Have an Awesome senior year (complete with senior skip day and prom)!!!! Love, Your Cousn Stefanie

  3. Took me back and made me cry. Darn you!!

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