Jun 08, 2011
My sons on their first day of school in June 2004;
Other images from

Today is the first day of school for my youngest son Anton. His college kuyas will have their turn next week. At around 4:30 am the heavy downpour woke me up. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep anymore so I decided to go to my son’s bed and wait there until his alarm turns on at 5:30 am. I wanted to make sure he won’t ignore it.

          As I lay myself down beside him, I realize what a big boy my “baby” has grown. I recall that for the longest time we would put our feet together and measure how many inches more before his feet would be as big as mine. Now his feet are way bigger than mine. His face, his arms and legs are all bigger than mine. They’re even bigger than his dad’s.

         I also recall how many first days of schools we’ve experienced together. As a mother, this is my 19th first day of school. For us parents, the very first day of school for our child is a day of letting go. It’s a day of anticipation and excitement and sometimes nervousness. Sometimes, we are more nervous than our child. We worry about his getting along with his classmates and teachers. For preschool “first dayers” we worry about his toilet training, “Will he be able to go to the toilet in time if he needs to go? Oh no, please don’t make him wet his pants. I should have put back his diapers again.” All sorts of worries.

          Back in the 90s when my sons entered preschool, we were always very excited. I actually drummed up the excitement so that they would anticipate fun and treat school as something to look forward to. I toned down the uncertainties of the unknown and the expected load of schoolwork to follow. Maybe I’ve succeeded. Up until now, they have never missed first days of school. They actually don’t want to miss the first day of school. They say it is the day to have fun and catch up with their classmates, a day to see if their teachers are terror or nice, and at least it’s a day with no homework and quizzes yet. It’s a day of using their new school supplies. My personal favorites when I was still in school were my new and sweet smelling erasers and my sometimes new pencil case. (Of course, when previous year’s pencil case was still okay there was no need to buy a new one, right mom?)

         On the first day of school, I get up early in the morning and wake them up cheerfully. No nagging please. I join them for breakfast to keep their spirits high. On their way out, I take their photo with the three of them all lined up by our front door. Then they all kiss Marvin and me goodbye.

          First day of school is a day of hope. It’s the day my sons renew their goals. It’s a clean slate and great possibilities are endless. “I hope to do well in this and that subject.” “I hope to have good teachers.” “I hope to get honors.”  “I hope our class will be fun.” “I hope our team wins this school year.”

          The dampening effects of the heavy rains and the heavy traffic on the first day of school are no match to my sons’ optimism. Even I am hopeful, “I hope my sons’ dreams will all come true!”

          Happy first day of school to all students and parents!