|A Facebook find from a childless-by-choice friend. |
I don't even have the dog to offer as an alternative. ;) :p
It's been an agonizingly long wait. As I wrote earlier last month, "first day of school" posts & photos from parents in the U.S. have been popping up since August 10th (!!) in my blog reader and Facebook feed, with each Monday since then (FIVE WEEKS' WORTH, people...!!) bringing a fresh new batch of photos and posts and stories and laments about how quickly these children are growing up.
At least they ARE growing up.
Sorry if I sound a little bitter. You see, this would be Katie's "Last First Day." (And ours too, of course, by extension.) Today, she would have been going into Grade 12 -- senior year, for those of you in the States. Of course, next year would have been the first day of university, with more first days of class to come over the next few years (because of course she would have gone to university, right??). (According to dh, she would already be doing her doctoral studies by now, because of course, our daughter would be brilliant. Yeah, right... ;) )
But the last year of high school is special, isn't it? (At least, it's supposed to be.) A milestone. A time to look back, and to look ahead.
I can look back, too -- on an entire lifetime of experiences she -- and we -- have missed out on. Things that never were. And look ahead too, to the things that never will be.
It's hard to believe she has been gone for so long.
She would be turning 17 in November. Over the past 11+ years, she would have survived daycare, kindergarten, first day of Grade 1 (and all the other grades). Learned to read. Inherited my Barbie doll collection & Nancy Drew books. Attended playdates and birthday parties. Cried over party invitations anticipated but not received. Made friends (perhaps with LGND), and endured catty comments from others. Had crushes on boys, and maybe even a boyfriend or two by now. Taken music lessons. Gone to a rock concert (maybe Bruce, with Mom & Dad, or (taking after her mom's boy-band inclinations, lol) 1D or Justin Bieber). Learned to swim and skate, perhaps to figure skate, or even play hockey. Joined the Girl Guides, or some other such organization. Maybe spent a week or two at summer camp. Spent a couple of weeks every summer visiting Grandma & Grandpa out west (and getting royally spoiled). Been smuggled into a bar, underage, by her doting auntie. ;) Learned to make tomato sauce with her other doting (Italian) zia (auntie), and been treated to gelato by her doting zio (uncle). Been teased by her adoring cousins. Learned to drive. Begged her dad & me for a car (among other things). Battled with us over curfews and Facebook. Maybe had a part-time job.
She would be looking forward to university applications, and prom next spring, and graduation next June, and university next fall. She would, no doubt, have been a bridesmaid in her cousin's wedding next fall, and full of plans for dresses and bouquets and showers and bachelorette parties. Perhaps thinking about her own wedding someday, as many young girls do. Perhaps her own family. My grandchildren. (Grandchildren!!)(Several of my peers, cousins & high school friends, some even younger than I am now, are grandparents already.)
All this would, could, should have been hers, and ours.
People often don't realize that when you lost a baby, you don't just lose a baby. You lose the toddler, and the first grader, and the tweener and the teenager, and the high school graduate and the college frosh, and the bride (or groom) and the young employee and the young parent he or she would have become. The children they might have had, too.
I never had any of it. Never got to see it, experience it, enjoy it.
But I miss it, and I feel cheated out of it, just the same. Even 17 years later.
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Previous first day of school/school-related posts:
Grade 6 (2009)
Grade 7 (2010)
Grade 8 (2011)
Grade 9 (2012)
Grade 10 (2013)
Grade 11 (2014)
Graduation blues (June 2015)