Today my oldest daughter starts kindergarten. Because she’s staying with my mom, my oldest will be going to the same school I went to as a little girl. I remember my first day of school. I wore a little green windbreaker and a sticker with my name on it. I was scared getting on the bus that first day. But I had my mom there, holding my hand and taking pictures and making it into a big adventure for me. My mom is there again, being there because I can’t.
The hardest thing about being gone is that my daughter will remember this. She’ll remember us not being there and she’ll remember my mom being there. Which is really great, because she’ll have a closeness with my mom that I never imagined possible with us being dual military. I’ll remember the day through pictures.
I’m sad about not being there. This is a pretty big milestone for my little girl. Just one more thing that as a military mom, I miss out on. We can talk about sacrifice all day long but at the end of the day, it’s personal. It’s about missed birthdays and weddings. It’s about missed first days of school. It’s about time. I’ll never get this day back. I’ll remember it through this blog post and the pictures my mom sends and the phone call tonight to hear all about it. But today is gone.
I can only make the rest of the days count. I made the choice to be in the army and have a family. Doesn’t make the consequences of that choice easier to deal with. I’ll probably find a way to write about this someday, down the road. When it’s a little less fresh and a little less raw.
I hope today is a happy one for my daughter. She’s going to school with her cousin, also something I never imagined she’d get to do because of our military lives. I’m looking forward to the pictures and hearing her tell us about it.
Most of all, I’m looking forward to being home. To taking her to school myself and meeting her teachers and helping her with her homework. Because those are the days I’ve got to look forward to.
Looking back doesn’t accomplish anything but regret. And regret will spoil those days still to come.
So as you’re walking your kids to school today or sending them off on the school bus, remember there are thousands of moms who aren’t there today to do the same. There are thousands of dads who are expected to act like today is just another day. Enjoy the little things.
They really are what’s important.