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His tiger backpack is stocked. His nap mat is rolled. And next week, my wife and I will experience it with him: the first day of school.

It is memorable for every family, but this one will be extra special. You see, it's his first first.

My son, Jonah, is only one-and-a-half, but due to hectic work schedules, we will be enrolling him part-time in the toddler program at our local Montessori school.

Will he miss me? Will he like it? Will he fit in with the other kids? Will he learn? Will he grow? What if he can't do what the other kids can do? What if a bully is mean to him? What if something bad happens?

I'm sure these questions plague every parent in the weeks leading up to the first day of school, in part because that first day conjures memories of our own school experiences.

I vividly recall being woken up in the wee hours of a crisp fall morning by my Dad. Dressing in a striped polo shirt. Eating the South Indian breakfast my mother had prepared. Racing into the classroom just before the bell. Gobbling my smooshed peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the other kids at lunch.

As a parent, Jonah's first first day of school is symbolic of my first step in letting him go. It has been said that a parent's job is the cruelest and most difficult, for the job of a parent is to make oneself unnecessary; to raise a child who can leave the nest and flourish independently.

I know Jonah's departure from our cozy nest is many years off. But I'm sure when I see him march down the hallway into his classroom next week, the combination of nostalgia for my school days and the realization that one day he'll march much further - out of our door, off a graduation podium, down an aisle - will make this first first day of school one I'll never forget.

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