Last year, I sent my first child off to school. It was a bittersweet day in early September and I cried a bit (she didn't) but put on my brave face and waved to her as she marched off to her classroom (and her future), replete with a backpack stuffed with school supplies and a big grin. Fast-forward one spectacular, fun, and brilliant year and we are ready to do it again, only this time she will be in first grade and her baby brother will be marching off to kindergarten.
I have no illusions of keeping myself at all composed this year.
First, there is the obvious: I am pregnant with my third and a light breeze sets off the waterworks. But also, he is my baby. Yes, I know I am due with another one, but that doesn't make him any less my baby right here and right now. I can't believe he is already big enough to go off to big boy school.
He is thrilled. Every day he tells me he can't wait to go off to kindergarten and to "learn so many things." I know he will thrive and I absolutely love his teacher. I also know he and his sister will love being together.
But for me? It's torture. How could my baby already be this old? How can he be 5 and ready to go off to big boy school? Wasn't he just nursing yesterday?
It might also be because he is a boy. He DID cross milestones at later ages than his sister. He was potty trained at 3. She was 2. He quit nursing at 2.5. She quit at 1. Whenever she ran ahead, I always knew I had him, my snuggly guy, at my side. Now he is putting on his own shoes, getting himself dressed, buckling himself into his booster, and generally being a big kid.
Wasn't he just my baby a few days ago?
I am thrilled for him that he is going to make new friends and learn new things. He is going to learn to read this year and have a whole new world open to him. It's going to be amazing.
I don't regret the idea of school. I miss school. I wish I could have stayed in grad school forever, and I am envious of my children just starting on the long road through elementary, middle, high school, college, and beyond. It's a thrilling time.
But I will always miss my little blond baby boy snuggled into me while his big sister marched ahead. It's his turn to go off now and I will smile and wave and bake him cookies for his return. But also, in private, I will cry. Probably more than I ever have before on a first day.
I may blame it on hormones, but that's not the only reason.
Did you find it hard to send your youngest off to school?