My little girl started school today.
Step one toward her Ph.D.
Her hair was combed her socks were clean,
But, where does that leave me.
I called her my own baby darling.
Can I still say that she is my own?
She told me she wasn’t a baby.
At least now she’s not mine alone.
She belongs to teachers and textbooks,
To chalkboards and schoolmates and rules.
Do mothers of all Kindergartners
Make of themselves such darn fools?
We walked to the bus stop in silence.
The smile on her face a mile wide.
Her thoughts reaching up to the heavens,
My heart crumbling slowly inside.
It’s strange how these feelings aren’t different
From the ones I had five years ago,
When thoughts of losing my budding career
Filled me with such dread woe.
No, you can’t build your life on your children.
You can’t keep them forever small.
But, part of you tries still to do it.
No matter… you’re in for a fall.
Well, the bus took her off with the others.
And I’m here in the kitchen again.
Alone with my thoughts and the dishes,
In need of a really good friend.
Just one moment of silence, I promise,
Then, Ms Steinham, I swear I’ll get on
With the life that this child interrupted,
All too soon, interrupted – then gone.
Written by my mother, Jill Potenz , September 1983