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First day of school off to a good start despite a few tears

There's nothing quite like the separation anxiety, the sheer emotional trauma, that can grip moms and dads when they deliver their children to school for the first time.

It's crushing enough just turning over one child to strangers. But three?

Not surprisingly, Lexington's Terry Moore couldn't hold back a few tears Wednesday morning after she and her husband, David, dropped off their 5-year-old triplets at Dixie Elementary Magnet School. It was the first day of kindergarten for Olivia, Emily and Aaron Moore.

Thousands of other Lexington youngsters also returned to classes Wednesday morning all across Lexington, as Fayette County Public Schools reopened for the 2009-10 school year.

School district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said that other than some "typical opening day" glitches such as a few late buses, the day went smoothly.

The first part of the day also went well for Terry Moore, but the tears began to fall after she left her triplets in their classroom. Fortunately, she was able relax for a few minutes at what the folks at Dixie Elementary call the "Boo-Hoo Breakfast."

Each year on the first day of classes, Dixie staffers hold the breakfast in the school library, serving coffee, doughnuts and plenty of tissues to help kindergarten parents through the emotional moment of saying goodbye to their children. Some parents get teary-eyed every year, school officials say.

"It's the fourth year we've done this to kind of help them through the transition," said Raine Clark, the school's family resource center coordinator. "We want parents to know that we understand, and we don't want them to feel like we're just kind of pushing them out of the door."

Shamia Tarrence, who brought her son, Jamalachia Tarrence, 5, to kindergarten Wednesday, said she hadn't shed any tears at the Boo-Hoo Breakfast.

"At least I haven't yet," she said. "I'm trying not to do that."

Shamia's mom, Cindy Allen, who also came along Wednesday morning, said her daughter had spent a lot of time "talking herself out of the crying part."

"She kept saying, 'I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to do it,'" Allen said.

Shannon Davis tried another approach. She did her crying the night before school. Davis and her husband, Mark, brought their daughter Kendall Davis, 5, to kindergarten at Dixie.

"I didn't want her to see me cry, so I had my boo-hoos Tuesday night," Shannon Davis explained. "It's just kind of hard to leave and let her go. It seems like the time has just flown by since she was little."

Fortunately, she said, Kendall breezed through her first morning at school.

"She's been so excited this whole week. She feels like she's a big kid, all ready to go."

Cassie Weig, mother of kindergartner Ethan Weig, 5, was one parent who got through the morning without problems. She is a school nurse, and Dixie is one of the schools she serves. So, she'll be close to Ethan almost every day.

"I'm a little calmer because of that," she said. "But things are probably harder for some of the other parents."

Deana and Blair Dawson said their daughter Morgan, 5, was so excited about starting kindergarten that she hardly slept Tuesday night.

"I think she was up at 3 o'clock and 4 o'clock, and at 5:30, she came and got into our bed to wait until it was time to get up," Blair Dawson said. "She wasn't scared, just excited."

Deana Dawson said her daughter did have a brief emotional moment when she got her first look at her classroom, filled with kids. But it passed quickly.

"It's just so hard letting them go," Deana Dawson said.

But Clark, the family resource coordinator, urged parents to buck up and be patient. Things will be easier once the school routine sets in, she promised.

"By Monday," Clark said, "it will be fine."

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