Today, my youngest daughter started daycare. This is the third, first day of school for our family. Four years ago our oldest daughter started, two years ago our middle daughter, and today our youngest. As I think back to my oldest daughter’s first day of school I can easily call to mind the feelings of sadness and anxiety that I was juggling.  We were happy with the daycare facility that we selected, but we were new parents and what did we really know about anything? I will always remember the first day, leaving my oldest daughter, in a place I really didn’t know, with a group of people I really didn’t know. I got in my car and headed to work with a pit in my stomach. However, my oldest daughter is an out-going, social butterfly, and I knew that she would be excited for the social interaction and the chance to make friends.

Two short years later my middle daughter had her first day. In my opinion, the change from one child to two is very difficult. Getting two girls out the door in the morning was a real challenge. However, this time around I was familiar with the daycare center and knew all the teachers. I was sad to leave her on her first day, but I felt comforted knowing that I was leaving her with loving, attentive individuals who would cuddle and care for her like I did at home. My apprehension this time around was related to my daughter’s personality. She was and continues to be a more sensitive soul than her older sister. She warms up more slowly, and is not as out-going. She prefers to sit and cuddle quietly, and two years later she still clings to my leg at drop off.

Today was my youngest daughter’s day. My youngest was home for six months before starting daycare (my other two were five months.) I was especially nervous this morning that my daughter would be old enough to realize that I was leaving, this is something that I did not experience the other two times. I had images of her screaming and reaching for me, as I tried to leave. Aside from stranger anxiety my feelings of sadness today were two-fold: I didn’t want to leave my precious snuggly and would this/could this be my last first day, ever?

Getting out of the house this morning was a production. I was up at 6AM, and continued to run around for two straight hours packing, loading, washing, brushing,  and dressing. I took this picture of the passenger side of my car as we were about to pull out the driveway. Ridiculous or what?

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My third daughter is an easy-going, remarkably happy baby. I had no worries about her warming up and having fun with her new friends once she got adjusted. After four years the daycare center is a home away from home for my daughters and the teachers are an extension of our family. I was not as much worried as I was sad. My youngest is the sweetest, easiest baby, and most days all I want to do is snuggle and smooch her up. Leaving her this morning was tough, but as you can see, she was excited to go (sorry for the blurriness, but she was so excited she couldn’t stop fidgeting!)

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The lesson that I have taken away from my three first days is that no matter how old your child is, regardless if it is their first day of daycare, their first day of kindergarten, their first day of high school, their first day of college, or their wedding day, rest assured, your day will be an emotional one, and watching them walk (or in my case, roll) away, is never easy.

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