Aug 11, 201110:18 AM
Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

Yesterday

Wait, I’m sorry, but wasn’t it just yesterday that I was stuffing my newborn daughter into her pink going-home bodysuit, folding up the arm- and leg-sleeves because even the newborn size was too big for her? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I watched reruns of Gilmore Girls while she slept on my shoulder, every so often toggling around her huge newborn head? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I spooned rice cereal off of her chin? That I held her ankles gently together while changing her diapers? That she gave me huge open-mouthed kisses on the side of my face? No?

Well, OK then, but wasn’t it just yesterday that I took her to her first day of daycare here in New Orleans at the fabulous bright-yellow Kiddee Korner in Mid-City? That I watched her, in pink-checked overalls, toddle away from me to grab a soggy animal cracker out of another child’s hand? No?

The passage of time is just another thing that is forever altered by becoming a parent. Four-and-a-half years of my life is a blip. Four-and-a-half years of Ruby’s life … well, that’s a lifetime, and yet it seems like it was just yesterday that I was bringing her home. But no.

Yesterday – really, actually yesterday – she started pre-K at Morris Jeff, and I am an absolute disaster. I am honestly wiping my eyes on the sleeve of my shirt as I’m typing this.

Ruby has been at Kiddee Korner since early February 2008 when she was 13 months old and could barely walk a few steps before falling down on her diapered bottom. I love the staff there and think of them as family. Ditto to the other kids: Parker, Avery, Mia, Ava, Grace, Ryleigh, Nico, Auden, Malaysia, Russell. Kiddee Korner has been a warm, loving environment for her, one where I never felt bad dropping her off and was always delighted to pick her up. Through tears, I emptied out her cubbie on Wednesday afternoon while her teachers admonished me: “You cannot cry or else we’ll start crying!”

And Thursday morning, dressed in her uniform, clutching her Hello Kitty lunchbox, we walked into Big Kid School. Her teacher greeted her warmly as the principal led morning meeting. I knew I had to keep up a brave front for Ruby, so I sang along with “What a Wonderful World” (really, Morris Jeff?! Are you trying to make the parents cry?!) and heartily recited the Pledge of Allegiance. And then I hugged and kissed her while she dissolved into tears. I waved frantically with false cheer as she walked off, still crying, with her class. And then, once she was fully out of sight down the hallway, I lost it. I cried all the way to work. And today brought more of the same.

I know it will get easier. But to paraphrase one of my favorite authors, Judy Blume, then again, maybe it won’t.

See, my boss has twin daughters starting college this fall, and when I showed him the pictures from Ruby’s first day, he got a bit misty-eyed himself. He remembers when his girls were going off to Big Kid School themselves. He says it seems like it was just yesterday.

 

Reader Comments:
Aug 12, 2011 10:58 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Eve it was just yesterday that the twins entered Big Kid School... at least that is the memory I keep in my head everyday... it is the memories you keep and reflect upon that mean the most.

next week I will develop a new memory of them going off to college and becoming young women ... developing their own identity.

Good Luck with Ruby...

Aug 12, 2011 11:42 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

As a PaPa to my 3 yr. old grandson who has a single mom raising him, I get the blessings of being an active part in his life. I understand and share many of your feelings as my Lil Buddy developes. Once of the biggest joys in my life has been experiencing his growth. But each developement brings a tear as I know the new means an end of an era we can never again enjoy.
Loved your article.

Aug 12, 2011 01:41 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

My daughter went to Kiddee Korner too - it was a great experience for her, as well!

Aug 15, 2011 08:40 am
 Posted by  coralme

some things never change and now I am remembering holding my beautiful grandaughter just hours after her birth. She starts Pre K this month. Not only that but I still remember the day my daughter was first place in my arms and she is 42 now.

Aug 19, 2011 06:15 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

So true. My 2 children are almost 5 years old and 2 years old. I also have a god child, who is a senior at my Alma Mater. I remember holding all of them in my arms and also feel like I just graduated from high school yesterday! Where does the time go? I try to savor everyday because I know all too soon my kids will be grown. I cried at the beginning of school, for both of them, and am amazed at their little personalities. I do miss the baby stage but love the people they are becoming :)

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Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

about

Eve is further proof, if any is needed, that New Orleans girls can never escape the city. After living here since the age of 3 and graduating from Ben Franklin High School, Eve moved to Columbia, Mo., where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism and became truly, unhealthily obsessed with grammar.

She had originally intended to strike out to New York City and work in the cutthroat magazine industry there, but after Katrina, Eve felt a strong pull to return home, to her roots, her family, her waterlogged and struggling city – and a much more forgiving work atmosphere that would allow her to skip a routine of everyday makeup and size 0 designer label business suits and enjoy the occasional cocktail or three with an absurdly fattening lunch. She moved back home in January 2008 and lives in Mid-City with her two daughters, Ruby and Georgia; her stepson, Elliot; and her husband, Robert Peyton.

Eve blogs about the joys and struggles of living in post-Katrina New Orleans, the unique problems and delights of raising a child in such a diverse and challenging city – including her experiences with the public education system – and her always entertaining and extremely colorful family.

Eve has won numerous writing awards, including the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for column-writing and Press Club of New Orleans awards for her Editor’s Note in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and for this blog, most recently winning the award for "Best Feature Affiliated Blog."

She welcomes comments, advice, empty flattery, recipes, drink invitations and – most especially – grammatical or linguistic debates.

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