My precious Grace entered the new world of kindergarten. I thought I was prepared and wouldn’t be that emotional about it, but I should have known better. Other people’s “first day of school” photos have been making me cry since Grace was a baby. Why did I think it would be different for me when it was my own child???
The stress started for me the night before her first day. We had kindergarten orientation that evening and I was more than annoyed that we were receiving critical information the night before school started.
One new piece of information that I found out was that I needed to send a snack with Grace every day. On the drive home I was going on and on about how silly it was that she needed a snack for half day kindergarten and what could I possibly find in my nearly-bare cupboards to send with her the next day.
Nate said, “Geez. Stop freaking out about the snack.”
And that is when I about lost my mind.
“I’m not freaking out about the snack. I’m freaking out about EVERYTHING!!!”
Which was the honest to goodness truth. The snack stress was merely a symptom of the anxiety that was brewing inside.
That night I slept awful. I had a hard time falling asleep because I was thinking about school the next day. Grace woke me up because she needed something. I struggled to go back to sleep and then was hit with cold symptoms that forced me out of bed. Then Noah woke up. I finally got back to sleep, but in the morning I was exhausted. And sick.
I woke up with a terrible cold that left me without any physical energy to deal with the emotions of the day.
I took Grace to school and was ready to walk her into her classroom like the teachers told us we could do the night before, but for some reason that I don’t understand, it didn’t happen that way. All of the parents said good-bye outside.
Grace was nervous, but I knew she would be okay without me walking in with her. I was the one who wasn’t okay with that.
I cried a lot.
Then I took a nap because of the exhaustion and awful cold.
And then I cried some more.
I cried so much that a friend took pity on me and sent Nate a text message telling him that he needed to pick up supper that night because I needed a break from cooking. Which, of course, made me cry some more.
Why exactly was I so emotional (beside the lack of sleep)? I think my breakdown can best be summed up with this statement I said to Nate that evening, “Some day she is going to grow up and move away!” *cue major sobs from me and Nate clueless about how to drag me off this emotional cliff*
I have always been an extremely sentimental person. Graduating from high school was sad for me. Graduating from college was flat out depressing.
I watched Grace walk into that school building and I was hit with the fact that this was my new life. Someone else’s schedule is going to determine my schedule. Someone else’s requirements for homework are going to determine how we spend our family time.
I am letting go of my control and she is growing up.
Note: Nate and I firmly believe in sending our children to public school. If we were a homeschooling family, I would still remain in control and that thought is tempting. However, the positives that come from a public school experience are extremely important to our family at this point in time.
So I’m entering a new phase of life. I have a child in elementary school. It is unknown, and that unknown feels a bit scary right now. But….
I’m also thankful. As much as it hurts for me to let go of the season of having all my little ones at home with me, I am blessed beyond measure to witness my children growing up. I have friends who never got to send their little one to kindergarten. I have other friends who were never able to bring their baby home from the hospital.
The first day of kindergarten almost broke me, but not really. I am lucky to have experienced it.
And so as I look back at the home videos and photos of my kids as babies, it is a bit sad. Never again will Grace take her first steps. Never again will she say her first words.
But I need to remind myself that there are more firsts ahead of us that are going to bring incredible joy. I just don’t know what they are yet.
Grace is going to be amazing as a kindergartener.
I’m so glad I get to witness it.
Do you struggle with watching your children pass through important milestones? How did you handle the first day of kindergarten?