Year after year, I see on social media how wonderful and perfect the first day of kindergarten goes. It is so fun seeing all these kids in their fresh new clothes, shiny kicks, and crisp backpacks. There are lots of emotions from parents because it is hard to let go and move onto the next phase in life, especially when it comes to kids. I had great advice from close friends and family who have been through this. Everyone told me he would do great and I would cry. While this was true to some extent, here is what my experience was like sending my kindergartner off:
I didn’t cry, I bawled.
I started tearing up on the way to work a month before school started. The night before, I was pretty weepy. And the morning of, I was full on bawling—off and on. I thought I had it out of my system, but then we walked up to the school and it hit me again. I had to contain myself and keep my huge sunglasses on. When it was time to leave him, he clung to me like he never has before—and tears streamed down his perfect little cheeks. He begged me to take him home. My heart just broke; it was harder to leave him in the classroom than it was going to back to work after maternity leave. I told him it would be ok and that I would be back to help the other kindergartners with lunch. I cried the entire way home and had to pull it together to start my work day from home. It was not the best experience for me. I learned I was not alone that day, even Jimmy Fallon admitted the first day of kindergarten was terrible for him too.
I debated whether or not keep my lunchtime volunteer commitment to help the little kids navigate the cafeteria on the first day. The school needed help, and I remembered what I read in a blog from another mom on what kindergartners really need on their first day. I am glad I kept my commitment; Jacob was thrilled to see me, and he went with the routine and knew he would be taking the bus home. I loved seeing him so happy—it made me want to cry again, but I didn’t. There were some sad and nervous kids in there, but all they needed was a little help opening their milk cartons, direction on where to sit and how to clear their trays, and—most of all—someone to wipe their tears, comfort them, and let them know it is all ok. It was a humbling and rewarding experience.
I obviously love my husband, duh. I know I am lucky—Matt is my best friend. He is the most even keeled person I know. But I am not one to rave endlessly for the love of my husband on social media, I usually just tell him directly. That said, I have to share this part of the day. Matt did not attend drop off because Jacob is very attached to Matt, and the tears would have been way worse. He did tell me this, word for word: “You have done a great job making Jacob who is he today; be proud of that! He is growing up, and that’s hard, but know he is a healthy, great kid with a bright future.” For some reason, that made me feel better and I am thrilled to see our little kindergartner thrive and grow this next year.
How was your first day of school? I would love to hear your stories!