Rose Ceremony: Reflections from a New First Grade Parent

When love comes to me and says
What do you know, I say this girl, this boy.
-Sharon Olds

The Rose Ceremony was a grand celebration of the first day of school and the welcoming of the new first grade class. As the Orchard Valley community came together in love and kinship, we reveled in the remarkability of each new milestone, of each shining face. As the first graders were gathered by their teacher, the circle swelled, parents collectively exhaled, shed tears, and smiled as the children took that first step from their days of early childhood onto the next big leg of their journey. I am most struck by how cyclical our paths are, how each year we will gather back here like a cadence. Each child having once been ushered into the school community in just this same way, will move along the circle to one day, too, hand out a rose, poised and confident. Among the dew and goldenrod we all felt this. We will feel it again.

It is impossible to not be sentimental on days like this. Braiding my daughter's hair before her first school day in the grades building like so many mothers (and fathers!) before me, I couldn't help but think how lucky we all are to be mired in goodness. As parents we are constantly in awe of our children's capacity for growth. We watch them walk away from us, sifting through the early morning fog with ever-lengthening limbs, able and ready for this and all the rest to come. 

~ Aja Jennings, mother of Miette in 1st grade, Atlas in Kindergarten, and baby Tillie