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Remember First Grade?

Remember first grade? I do.

One bright sunny September morning, I crawled into the front seat of our burnt orange and white automobile. My life stood on the brink of change. The much-anticipated first day of first grade finally arrived. 

I wore a new pink dress with a small black velvet bow attached to the collar, as I clutched a plaid book satchel of primary colors by at my side. Inside the bag, the contents represented a list for all first graders: an oversized wooden pencil and a large writing tablet. I attempted a grin, but truthfully, jitters danced in my stomach. For this timid, only child, the day held countless unknowns.

My Mother and I drove together the eighteen miles to a two story, austere red brick building, and parked on the curb out front. I didn’t think much about my Mother that day, except to notice she wore stilettos and looked especially pretty.

As I held tightly to my Mother’s hand, we entered doors that changed both her world and mine.

From First Grade:                                                                                                                               I remember Miss Boyce, my teacher

I remember not being placed in the accelerated reading group

I remember taking naps on the floor after lunch

I remember being confused by math (arithmetic, it was)

I remember getting paddled in the coatroom for talking too much

I remember our program for parents when I sang a duet

I remember Sally, Dick, Jane, Puff and Spot, who became my beloved companions

I remember The Kiddie Band and being disappointed with my assigned instrument, the triangle

I remember overwhelming relief to open my end of year report card and discover my promotion 

After first grade, I tucked the memories away and left them behind. Until - one day on the sidewalk outside the American School of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland - my memories of first grade unsuspectingly returned.

Now, I was the Mother, and the hand I held was that of my own little girl. She wore a new pink dress with smocking, and she carried a carefully selected book bag. I will forever feel the clutch of her little hand nestled in mine as we stood together and quietly considered our next move. 

With one unplanned squeeze from her little hand, she and I stepped forward and entered doors that changed both her world and mine. Why of course, I remember first grade.

Living with Eternal Intentionality: When you see a mom holding a child’s hand and entering the doors of a school, I suggest you pause, pray, and smile to remember your own first grade.