Van's annual rendition of a kindergartner's first day of school.
(D. Valentine, R. Kellaway)
Listen to Van reading the poem
Dear World: I bequeath to you today one little girl…in a crispy dress…with two blue eyes…and a happy laugh that ripples all day long…and a flash of light blond hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you will treat her well.
She’s slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning…and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine. Prim and proud she’ll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say “Goodbye” and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.
Now she’ll learn to stand in lines…and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She’ll learn to tune her ears for the sounds of school-bells…and deadlines…and she’ll learn to giggle…and gossip…and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And, now she’ll learn to be jealous. And now she’ll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she’ll learn how not to cry.
No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in the sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew. No, now she will worry about the important things…like grades and which dress to wear and who’s best friend is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And she’ll find new heroes.
For five full years now I’ve been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and father and friend. Now she’ll learn to share her worship with her teachers…which is only right. But, no longer will I be the smartest, greatest man in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time…she’ll learn what it means to be a member of the group…with all its privileges and its disadvantages too.
She’ll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud…or kiss dogs…or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms…or even watch ants scurry across cracks in sidewalks in the summer.
Today she’ll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I’ll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to becoming a woman.
So, world, I bequeath to you one little girl…in a crispy dress…with two blue eyes…and a happy laugh that ripples all day long…and a flash of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs. I trust you’ll treat her well.