My kid is so ready for Kindergarten. He has his backpack, lunch box, a can-do attitude and he is roaring to go.
As for me? Not so much.
I’ve known this day was coming for a long time. Through the terrible twos and the threenager stage, I even found myself looking forward to it. After all the preparation, registration, paperwork, shopping, and talking about Kindergarten, I find I’m the one who is not ready.
I’m not ready to let go of the sweet morning snuggles.
I’m not ready to not know how he spends his day.
I’m not ready to learn the ropes of elementary school all over again, only this time from a parent’s perspective.
As someone who attended multiple elementary schools, I find myself getting first day butterflies every time I walk into his school. For the first time in his life, I don’t feel prepared to guide him. I don’t know where things are yet, or what the procedures are. I have to hand over the reins to leading my kiddo through life, eight hours every day, to a complete stranger.
That is a scary feeling. There are so many books to help prepare kids for beginning Kindergarten. But where is the parent’s guide to letting go? I could use a copy of that!
I am slowly adjusting. I’m learning about car pick up lines, drop off procedures, and I’ve filled out so many brightly colored pieces of paper I could make a rainbow of emergency contacts across the cafeteria wall.
But I miss the slow mornings full of sweetness, of bleary-eyed hugs instead of bounding up because he’s so excited for school. I know how lucky I am to have a child so thrilled to be going to school. He’s had his moments of fear and tears, especially around the first full day. But overall, he feels prepared and ready to go. In my head, I know it’s amazing that he’s so grown up he doesn’t want me to walk him into school when it’s only his third day.
But my heart? It aches that he never looked back on his first day.
I blink and I see his little newborn face, big shiny eyes staring into the gently falling snow his very first time outside. Then I watch that little face morph and grow, literally jumping out of the backseat to run full throttle into his new life. Those big eyes still shine, but he’s looking at a different kind of brand new world.
Those of us left at home find ourselves looking at a brand new world, too. The hardest adjustment may just be for little brother, a three-year-old learning to navigate the world without big brother’s help for the first time. He’s certainly enjoying his solo mama time, but he also keeps forgetting big brother is at school. He’s continually asking where he is, when we can get him, why he isn’t eating lunch with us. On the first day of school, he indignantly demanded to know, “Why’d you leave my brother in that place?!”