Dear Kindergarten Mama,
I see the uncertainty in your eyes and I sense the angst in your heart. I have decided that nothing can adequately prepare one for the emotional roller coaster that is parenthood.
There are so many bittersweet milestones and sending our sweet littles off to Kindergarten might just top the list. During the months leading up to the first day of school for my oldest I was anxious, petrified and sad. It broke.my.heart and I literally couldn’t bring myself to say the “K” word out loud. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that she wanted to eat cafeteria food and begged to ride the big yellow bus. I did my best to be excited for her because I knew she was looking forward to this new adventure. It was definitely the next step in life for her but it was such a giant leap of faith for me.
The night before the big day we laid out a new outfit, painted her nails to match, put her hair up in sponge rollers and read a new book, ‘T’was the Night Before Kindergarten’. I set my alarm for 5:30am (ouch!) and couldn’t believe I had just put her to bed for the last time before we were on a set school schedule. After breakfast and a few quick photos on the brick fireplace the next morning she put her little arms through the new cute chocolate polka dot Pottery Barn back pack we dashed out the door.
The schoolyard was bustling with cars parked everywhere and people hustling to and from. We headed toward the Kinder wing and saw her homeroom teacher standing in the doorway. My heart felt as though it dropped into my stomach. There was no turning back now. My daughter made a bee line for the classroom with all the confidence in the world. We followed to help her get situated (and of course to snap a few more photos!) She found her seat and began chatting with some new friends. Her little brother felt right at home and sat down beside her. I had held it together until this point but I felt the waterworks coming. I started to make my way out the door but turned around once more before I left. Our eyes locked and it was almost as if my girl non verbally told me “I’m okay, everything will be fine mom”. The feeling that overcame me was the one I expect to feel on all of her big days….when we leave her at college and on her wedding day. Once in the hallway I cried like I knew I would.
There were countless little unexpected reminders that things were different now. There was an empty spot on the double seat shopping cart at Target, a missing buddy at the Chick fil A play area and a little brother who often pitifully asked “We pick up sissy now fweaze?” That afternoon I showed up at least 45 minutes early to pick her up and the carpool line was already crazy long. I could hardly wait to hear how her day went. She had lots to share! She raved about the yummy cafeteria food, was thrilled to do push ups in PE and was proud of herself for conquering the tricky monkey bars on the playground.
You know what? We quickly adjusted to our new routine and that it was a wonderful year! She thrived at school and became her own sweet little person. School has been such a blessing to her both socially and developmentally and it has been so rewarding to watch her blossom.