08/25/14 — Sharing their very first day at school

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Sharing their very first day at school

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 25, 2014 1:46 PM

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From the early morning preparations to the arrival at school and the very first goodbye, taking your eldest daughter to kindergarten is no easy task. For the Franklin family, this first day was full of smiles mixed with a few nerves, a lot of memories and, of course, for mom, a few tears.

Bella Franklin woke up just a little excited, and a bit nervous, this morning -- and so, too, did her mom, Mary.

After all, both of them were preparing for "first days."

For Mary, today is her first day on a new job -- physical education and health teacher at Northwest Elementary School after spending the last 14 years in the same capacity at Brogden Primary.

And she will also take her eldest daughter, Bella, who just turned 5, to kindergarten.

By 6 a.m., Mrs. Franklin had the family's dinner going in the crockpot and breakfast going on the stove. It has been a busy weekend. Along with preparing for school, the family is also moving.

"I've already done laundry and dishes. Breakfast is the one meal we try to cook," said the working mom whose afternoons are equally busy, as a dance instructor at her mother's studio, Goldsboro Ballet.

Her husband, Craig, helped an enthusiastic Lexie, who will be 3 next month, get dressed for the day.

Bella was a bit more sedate, but awoke on her own.

"What do you want to watch this morning to wake up?" her mom asked.

The little girl chose to go feed the cat, Seraphina, then retrieved her pink bookbag, featuring the Disney character "Aurora."

"Mom, this is not filled," she exclaimed.

"No, that's what Mrs. Lane told us to bring," her mom replied.

Even though Northwest is a new school -- it will have a familiar feel.

Mrs. Franklin's father, Alex Wingate, served there as principal for 11 years, retiring in 2007.

"He's super excited," Mrs. Franklin said. "When you put that much time and effort into something, he'd go back and sub or visit. I think in his heart he's really happy, still getting a little piece of what's happening and I'm going to go in there and be there in that community that he cares about."

With several clothing options to choose from, Bella settled on a pink Hello Kitty outfit, pink socks and new "Twinkle shoes." After struggling with the velcro sneakers, she took them off.

"Have your feet grown? We just bought them two weeks ago," her mom said, explaining that her daughter had been wearing flip-flops over the summer.

Bella reached into the closet and retrieved Barbie sneakers instead.

"Do you want me to do your hair crazy?" Mrs. Franklin asked, mindful of the naturally curly hair atop her daughter's head.

"No! I want it down with a headband," Bella exclaimed, darting back to her bedroom to retrieve a hairbrush.

Returning to the living room, she announced she was eating in front of the TV.

"We're not going to push it today," her mom said, to no one in particular. "But tomorrow, you'll eat in the kitchen."

Once done, Bella returned to her bedroom to make her bed. No sooner had she pulled up the comforter, than Lexie jumped up and lay in the middle of the spread.

"Please help my sister get off my bed," Bella pleaded.

Mom came to the rescue, extinguishing candles and gathering bags as she herded the girls to the door.

"Yes, coffee and candles keep me happy," she said with a smile.

Before getting into the vehicle, though, her daughters reminded their mom about the need to "say good-bye to Owl," the family cat buried beside the house since being struck by a car last week.

Observing a moment of silence, they were allowed to pick sprigs of jasmine on a nearby bush before heading down the road.

After dropping Lexie off at the sitter's, mother and daughter made their way to Northwest.

Bella quietly admitted to her mother that she was feeling a few first-day jitters.

"You want to know a secret, Bella? Mom's a little nervous, too," her mom said.

Bella laughed, clearly relieved that she wasn't the only one.

The two walked to the kindergarten hallway, in search of Mindy Lane's room.

"Let's show you where to sit," Mrs. Lane said as they entered.

She handed Mary a small pack of tissues with a poem appropriate for the occasion.

"I was fine until this," Mary said, wiping away some unexpected tears.

Bella, meanwhile, was contentedly sitting at a desk, coloring a picture.

"I put my name on it," she announced to her teacher.

"I'm just so proud of you," Mrs. Lane replied.

The teacher then put her arm around the shoulder of another mom, still lingering as the bell rang to signal the start of the first day.

"I tell my mamas, 'I promise I'm going to love them. They'll be OK,'" she told the mother.

And Mary and Bella started the first day of their new adventure.