I feel like I should write some words about the girls starting school today, but I hardly know how I feel about it. I listen to this song and think it's somewhere in there, in the sweet pull of the violin and the "I haven't felt this alive in a long time/all the streets are warm today" lyric, but it doesn't make sense to me, not yet. Because this is a happy sentiment, yes? And yet I do not feel that exactly.
It's just that the girls have stepped out and opened up our world a bit -- or a lot, I guess -- and it is both happy and completely terrifying. What face is Madeleine making now? What have the other girls said to her? Is she speaking back? Does Violet like her teacher? What does it feel like to fold her little body into those chairs, to sit next to new people? I check the school website, examine the kindergarten and first grade schedules for answers. I try to pack meaning into "social studies group" and 15 minute recesses. Like now, right now, Violet is working on math and Mad is in science. Are they engaged? Are new words and concepts furrowing into the folds of their brains? Are they getting excited about learning? When I pick them up, will they smile or frown? Cry? Shut down?
Honestly, I don't know what to do with myself. I will leave here at 3 and pick them up, and my heart will be in my throat the whole time, hoping they'll come out of the school looking thrilled and steeling myself for the alternative. The great, stupid, wonderful unknown. I hit replay on the song, again and again, and try to live in the surge of strings for a little while. All for the new day, he sings. Everything is too big and all is as it should be.