For some reason, a secular date is the official First Day of School in Israel (for everything but the boys cheders and yeshivas), so all the gans, all the girls schools, all the public schools, everything starts on September first.
All through camp, all through the summer and the last week when Sroch was down the block being babysat by a friend until school started - we were focusing on Gan Shalosh (3). Every time we would mention it, a squeal of delight would be emitted. New tik (with embroidered initials - thank you Lands End!). New school shoes. New big girl knee socks.
The night before, I reread Sarah Rochel the classic book from my childhood, Grover Goes to School. Look, I can start crying just THINKING about this book, so reading it to Sarah Rochel (for the nth time) just before she goes off to make new friends in a new school, oh boo hoo hoo. Poor Sroch. She just waits patiently for me to pull myself together. "Right Mommy sometimes cries a lot?" "Right. That's so silly, Mommy!"
Sometime during the night she crawls into bed in our room. I dimly may recall it happening, dunno. But I let her stay, because hey, she needs her rest. Finally at 7:15 I wake her up. We rush into the new clothes we set out the night before, I give her a continental breakfast (four grapes, 1 triangle cheese and 1 slice of bread - oh, and milk with a straw). I make Yoav give her a bracha before we leave the house, because you know, this is a big deal... and off we go to Beis Yaakov Gan Shalosh!
On the way there, clutching her hand. Try not to cry, try not to cry. Not crying. Phew.
Go in the gate (we checked it out last week, but it wasn't open. Now it is!). No sign on the door. Stick our head in one of the prefab buildings that each classroom is - they direct us to the first building. It has little candies painted on the stucco outside.
Walk in, greeted immediately by our two gannenets, Morah Shevi and Morah Pessie. Morah Pessie is... ta ra, ta ra!... English speaking! How useful! Boom, instant banishment of fear that Sarah Rochel (despite her Hebrew competency) will need to say something like "I feel great frustration and disappointment and have a boo boo on my tushy," and no one will understand her. Baruch Hashem!
Classroom is large, with several areas, including a big toy kitchen area and many doll carriages and such. Bright, airy (air conditioned!). Smiling, friendly teachers, who exude competence. (Later, they both tell me they like my child. And so I worship them.)
Sarah Rochel is shy for about, say, 360 seconds. Then, she's got her nametag with a lollypop attached (which quickly becomes detached and inserted into her mouth) and she don't need me no more! So I go with her to hang up her tik, and I go home.
Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry.
Get home. Yoav has taken Llama to her metapelet.
I start davening shachris. Praying, praying. Start shemone esrei. First paragraph.
Dissolve in tears.
There is something about sending your child, and especially your long awaited, long prayed for first child, off to Real School that is very connecting with the avos and imahos and every generation of Jews thereafter. My baby's Torah education began before she was born, I know - but the formal aspect of it began yesterday.
Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzhak vElokei Yaakov - is also Elokei Sarah Rochel. Of course. But because she's Sarah Rochel, our child named for two women who also had to wait a long time to have a child to send off to learn Torah, because Hashem granted us the gift of her (gomel chasadim tovim) just like he gave it to them vzocher chasdei avos, umeivi goel livnei beneihem because indeed her birth was a redemption, was a mechayei meisim since one who is childless is one who is considered not alive...
Basically, it comes back to the real point of this blog. This blog is to share the joys of my children with the world, but really to proclaim to the entire world that God is endlessly generous and good and has given us the greatest blessing in the world and we pledge to never take those blessings for granted!.
Lemaan shemo, beahava.
And so I sent my firstborn off to school.
And so I say, thank you, thank you Hashem.