Today is bittersweet. It is the first day of school for my daughter, who is now a proud fifth grader. She is one step closer to middle school and even more independence from me and her dad. All summer long, she has looked forward to this day, and I have been able to relish in the preparations—back to school shopping, meeting the teacher, and learning about the “secret society” that is the fifth grade. But there is also a sense of sadness because over the weekend, an 18 year old teen named Mike Brown was killed by a police officer in the nearby city of Ferguson, Missouri, some mere 30 minutes away from where we reside. He was due to start college himself this week as well, but cannot because his life was taken away. So on one note, I am happy for my daughter and the start of a new chapter in her elementary school life—and on the other hand, I am experiencing great grief and sorrow regarding the life of a boy who is gone too soon.
Our communities are also heartbroken as we try to make sense what happened. This is a crazy time. Many schools in the St. Louis area like my daughter’s begin this week. But there’s so much tension in the air, you can cut it with a knife. And my daughter feels it too. She knows what happened, but not to the extent and severity. At this point, her dad and I are trying to come up with a way to let her know that we will always keep her safe.
But that is a promise that we may not be able to keep, due to the negligence and hate of others.
I will write a full blog post on Mike Brown and my feelings and thoughts once I am able to sit down and compose them. I really wanted this post, as the previous first day of school posts on my site, to be one of happiness and fun. But I can’t do so and keep it real. I love my daughter, but I have a feeling that St. Louis will never be the same after this.
Which is why I titled this blog post First Day of School: A Killing, Fifth Grade, and Mixed Emotions. There are so many other feelings that I am experiencing, but can’t even put them into words.
As tradition stands, I’ve taken some first day of school pictures of my Chicklet to share with you guys. She’s got a whole 80′s Baby thing going on, and her wardrobe is reflecting that. She is now stepping into her own style and becoming that woman-child which will eventually shed her cocoon.
Despite the way this school year has begun, I know it is going to be one of the best yet. It’s my duty as a mom to make sure that it is.
Now…here’s the obligatory First Day of School photos: