Sunday, August 3, 2008

First Day Jitters for the Youngest Freedom Sister To Be


This is my baby. Next week she'll be two. Tomorrow is her first day of school—well, early learning center. She, of course, is not nervous. Me? I'm a bit on edge. I stayed home with her for 15 months and since then she's been in home environments with people who loved her. Now, she's going off to school with strangers, well-meaning as they may be. And its time. She ditched the sippy cup about a month ago, has been able to sing her ABCs and count to 10 for months, points out doggies, birdies, daddies and mommies in every book we read, and says her grace before eating and her prayers at bedtime.

She'll even tell you that she'll be right back when she leaves the room with one finger in the air. You know how the old folks do sometimes when they tip on out of church early. How about my mother just informed me that this behavior dates back to slavery when slaves had to raise a finger before walking out of church to let other white folks know that their master had given them permission to leave. Talk about the vestiges of slavery!

So back to my baby. Yep. Its time for learning for her. But to me, this is the official end of the baby stage. And I guess I'm just not ready for that. Not to mention the whole researching the types of schools, programs and extracurricular activities (dance, music, art, sports)to which I want her to expose her. The mind reels. But I'm exited, too, because my child is about to begin her life's journey of learning, something her mother loves so much that she became a journalist just to ensure she'd could do it forever—and get paid for it.

So I'm gonna look at her first day of school as a wonderful beginning to an exciting and informed life. I'll get to see her fall in love with learning and the world of opportunities that brings. Who knows? My child may turn out to be the next Ida B. Wells, Charlayne Hunter-Gault or any one of the 20 black women featured in the Smithsonian's Freedom Sisters traveling exhibit. Okay, I feel better now.

JD

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