Same but Different

I drop Katie off at daycare in the morning, just like I’ve done every morning for the past three years.  Today it is different.  Katie is officially in the preschool room.  She is no longer a baby, no longer a toddler.  She is in a new room with new teachers learning new things.  I watch as Katie quickly finds her name on one of the cubbies.  “Katie!” she reads with joy.  She hangs up her backpack with all the confidence of a high school student and runs off to join her friends.  “Bye, Katie,” I say to her back.  “I love you!”  I’ve done this morning drop-off hundreds of times.  Today it is the same, but different.

I walk Maddie down the hall to her room at daycare, just like I have done every morning for the past five years.  Today it is different.  After lunchtime is over, she will board a yellow school bus with her little friends and go to kindergarten for the afternoon.  She will learn and play and socialize and choose kind (always choose kind, Maddie).  She will board the bus again and travel back to daycare, where I will pick her up after work.  Suddenly, Maddie has this whole other life happening while I’m at work, I think to myself.  I kiss her goodbye like I’ve done hundreds of times before.  It is the same, but different.

I get in my car and start my drive to work, just like I have done every morning since I started teaching. Today it is different.  I am not driving to the same place I have driven to for the past fourteen years.  I am driving a new route to a new school district.  I will smile at new students and settle in my new office.  I will still be the instructional coach, and I will still work side-by-side with teachers in their classrooms.  But I won’t know any of these teachers or any of these kids, and it will feel like I am working with strangers.  I’ve driven to work hundreds and hundreds of times.  This is the same, but different.

Everything in my life feels so foreign.  Katie’s new room, Maddie’s new school, my new job.  Everything is strange and new and scary.

It is not until I have picked the girls up from daycare and come home to kick off my shoes that I will start to feel the same again. Katie and Maddie will share stories from their day, and I will listen.  I will hold them tight and kiss their cheeks, trying to reclaim the little bits of their lives I miss when I am at work.  I will sip my coffee and breathe.  Eventually, my husband will come home and greet me with a kiss.  This part will feel the same – these happiest moments of my day.  I smile and try to remind myself that change is good.

Tomorrow will be the same.  Same, but different.

Join the Slice of Life Story link-up every Tuesday at the Two Writing Teachers.

Join the Slice of Life Story link-up every Tuesday at the Two Writing Teachers.

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17 thoughts on “Same but Different

  1. I hope that your sames strengthen you and your differents inspire you to believe that this year will be filled with kindness, fun, and wonderful relationships for all three of you.

  2. Change is inevitable. Today’s differences become tomorrow’s same. Enjoy this new chapter in your daughters’ lives as well as your own. Wishing you a great school year.

  3. Love this whole post, Dana! It will be a fabulous year for YOU, Katie, and Maddie. Your happiness will bleed over into both your “sames” and your “differents” because change is inevitable! and different! You are at your “New Normal”!

  4. That’s a lot of newness going on all at once, yet the routine is the same. The wistful for what was versus the wonder of what is. Everyone growing in their own way, even you. The repetition of “…same, but different.” really drives it home. Charming write.

  5. Change is hard, but as Bob said, it’s inevitable. Just when we think things are going along swimmingly — BAM! — change hits us! While there are so many different things happening for you know, it sounds like there’s a lot of the same stuff happening which will keep everyone grounded.

  6. I see the changes in my granddaughters, and now I’m only working with one teacher this year, no rushing out, very different. I know that change is good, but it also isn’t easy at the beginning, is it? Glad you have those good things the same at the end, Dana.

  7. Love everything about this slice of your same, but different new life! Ironic that the girls and I read SAME, SAME, but DIFFERENT tonight … All the new can be a little scary, but also so exciting — just think of the possibilities waiting for you all! Opportunities to choose kind, to make connections, to learn. I can’t wait to hear about your journey this year! The best part …. the evening routine at home. I just melted into the comfort of your words.

  8. Oops, I can’t delete my earlier comment, it was meant for FB.
    A quote from one of our 6th grade stories – “Change is the law that binds us all.” It doesn’t make it any easier, though. Dana, I can’t believe how fast your girls are growing up. These words jumped out of your slice: “Everything in my life feels so foreign. . . Everything is strange and new and scary.” I remember feeling that way 18 years ago when we moved to the NW. I told my husband that our new house didn’t like me! In no time at all, things will start feeling comfortable. In the meantime, you have your wonderful evenings to enjoy together.

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