The countdown started months ago. “Dad, how many days till I start school?” For an excited five-year-old, the days before her first day of kindergarten seem to drag on and on.

In last couple of weeks, the countdown became an everyday occurrence. “Twelve more days,” … “seven more days,” … “one more day,” … and then, just like that, the big day is here.

All of the preparation, the school supply shopping (make sure it’s CRAYOLA crayons), the anticipation, the million questions about how her school days will be and if she’ll like her teacher. All of the talks to her about having fun at school but respecting the teachers and other students and following rules. No running. No talking out of place. “You have to listen,” I tell her.

“I’m nervous,” she would say. “That’s normal, honey,” I would say. “Everyone is nervous for their first day of school.” Finally the day gets here and as a parent you hope you’ve done your best to prepare her such a big event in her young life. I wake her up, and with a big stretch it seems like any other morning. Then it hits her … a giant smile beams across her face and she proclaims, “It’s the first day of school!”

Ready for breakfast
Ready for breakfast

Indeed it is. After doing the things every parent does on the first day of school – getting her dressed in her special outfit, the million pictures, the last minute “pep talk” – it’s time to head to the school. Down we go to the cafeteria for a quick breakfast. You can see the nervous, dazed look in her eyes as she carefully carries her breakfast tray. Then it’s off to the classroom and all of its hustle and bustle. We find her name tag and a seat and it’s time to let her go to start her journey.

After the hugs, the kisses, the “you’ll be fine” and the “I love you”. After all of the preparation and the advice and pep talks, it’s time to turn her loose. As I walked through the door I did one last glance back. She was nervously sitting quietly and appeared ready. As I walked to my car I realized I wasn’t fully prepared for one thing I hadn’t thought of: that giant lump in my throat.

It will go away soon. At least, I think it will.

More From 100.9 The Eagle, The Tri-States' Classic Rock Station