Tomorrow is the big day.  I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.  My room is decorated, my copies are made, I’ve attended all the required meetings and professional learning, and my student teacher is ready to go.  I’ll stand at my door and smile as I welcome my new students into my English III class and hope that they’re eager to learn about American literature.  But, underneath that facade is the broken heart of a mom who should be sending her baby off to start high school.

This past weekend, I’ve been overcome by waves of emotion.  Some melancholy, some anger, but mostly despair.  Even after 10 1/2 months, its still hard to believe that Peyton isn’t coming home.  I’ve gotten really good at hiding the depth of my grief, something I’ve learned from other parents who’ve lost their children to suicide.  We are, if nothing else, masters of disguise.  That mask will be in place tomorrow and I just hope that it stays in place long enough to get me through the day…the week…the semester…the year.

For  a lot of your kids,  this week will be one filled with firsts.  First day of kindergarten, first day of high school, first day of college.  It will be a week of firsts for you too.  But, as you’re getting ready to send your babies, both young and old, off to school, please take pictures of their beautiful smiles and send them off knowing that you love them with all your heart.