The first day of kindergarten is one of the hardest days emotionally for parents. It’s not really so much about your child going to school for the first time, as it is starting the letting go process. It’s that milestone where you move on to the next phase of parenthood and your child becomes a kid, no matter how much you still see them as a baby. We parents all know that once our children get that little taste of independence they will crave more. It’s natural. It’s good but it hurts our mommy and daddy hearts.
The night before kindergarten, I laid down in bed snuggled up with my kindergartner and read her The Night before Kindergarten and before I knew it, the enormity of my baby starting elementary school was swallowing me whole. This is life changing for all of us but most of all for her. For me, it is the first of many times I’ll have to suck it up and let her go but for her it is the beginning of so many opportunities.
I am so excited for her. I want to let her know that it is OK to be frightened, but also to be excited because that is what all the good great things in life feel like. It breaks my heart a tiny bit that she is becoming so independent and growing up so fast but I am so thankful that for a little while I got to have her all to myself.
As we drove along the same route we have driven so many times before to drop off her sister, I looked to the backseat and saw the baby I loved so much beaming with excitement and fidgeting with nervousness. I pretended not to notice the trepidation. She caught me staring at her and smiled just a little bit bigger. My heart, my mommy heart was starting to quiver. Silently I command myself, “ Don’t ugly cry, lady. You have to wait until you get outside of the building.”
When we arrived at school, she was the first one out of the car. “Mommy, take my picture!” as she posed in front of the welcome sign. I followed silently snapping photos, committing every second of the letting go to memory. Smiling my nervous smile that only my husband recognizes. My girls bounce through the hallways, sprinting towards the new year of new experiences; toward growing up. I could feel the pull at my heart as I watched their tiny bodies walking away from me.
The worst part of the first day was trying to tiptoe through the menagerie of crying Mommies as I made my way through the Kindergarten corridor. It was brutal. I was holding it in and squeezing my girl’s hand to reassure her. Damn the letting go. It hurts so badly. I hate the first day of kindergarten.
After a photo or two more next to the “KINDERGARTEN “ sign, it was time to let her go. This is the hard part. This is where I swallow hard and hug tight and then watch helplessly as I do the right thing and encourage her to go. This hurts my heart and stings my eyes. Swallow that lump lady! I swallow so hard that I almost choke on this familiar lump. She runs back for one last hug and whispers, “I love you, Mommy. I’ll be okay.”
I slowly turn and walk away. I sneak one last backward glance she is smiling and coloring with new friends. As I walk away, I can hear her giggle and engage in excited conversation and I comfort myself with the words she just spoke to me, “I’ll be okay.”
I didn't cry, though I really wanted to. I loosened my white-knuckle grip on my little girl’s childhood and I look forward to afternoon pick up. I know eventually this won’t be so hard but, on the first day of kindergarten, letting go hurts like a bitch.
How did you survive the letting go of the first day of kindergarten?
Image Via The TRUTH about Motherhood