I would have liked to waste time pouring over first day ideas, Pinning my favorites and planning the details. I wanted to shop for a lunchbox, to hold an internal debate about whether to buy the cute one she wanted, or the higher quality one that might last the year. I envisioned cutting her PB&Js into fancy shapes and jotting sweet notes on napkins.  I imagined crossing off items on the student supply list and tossing tiny bottles of Elmer's glue alongside big boxes of tissues in a brand new bag far too big for her back. 

Celia should have started school this morning.

But she wouldn’t have gone to school anyway, I hear. True, she wouldn’t have, but the daughter of our dreams did not get sick and die, the one whose hair I would have braided, the one whose crown Andy would have kissed as he wished her luck.  She would have spent the summer losing teeth and diving off the board and learning to read, and we would have sent her to school today. We would have clutched the camera, giving each other nostalgic glances as we watched her clean sneakers step into the classroom.

Celia's illness and death sort of reset the beginning for our family.  We won't have first-day-of-school photos to share for a few more years.  But, as Andy reminded me earlier this week, we might not have had him either.


Audriana said...

I'm thinking of you and saying a prayer for you this morning. I want you to know she hasn't been forgotten, not even by a stranger across the states who fell in love with springy red curls and a beautiful spirit.

Poppy John said...

Jenni Baby,

Just think about how many of our relatives, who are now in heaven, were teachers...the school bells ARE ringing. Sit down...shut up...and pay attention Celia.


courtney said...

Oh Jenni,
my heart hurts
it isn't fair
I think she will be there for many first days along side her brothers
but she should be there today

Anonymous said...

Sending you love.

Emma! said...

Praying for you. I can't imagine the unending line of milestones you have to pass through. Much like the commenter above, know that I think of Celia often, and I am a total stranger to your family. Thank you for sharing your tough times as well as your happier times.

Groves said...


Audriana and Poppy John,
thank you
for words.

Mine are out, today.

But you said it all.

Cathy in Missouri

Carrie said...

This made me cry today. Wishing all those dreams for Celia could have come true. Hugs.

McKenna said...

I can only imagine how hard all these firsts that "should be" are for you. Thinking of you through it all.