I cried in my kitchen, I cried in my bathroom, I cried when I dropped her off the first day, and second day.....and 37th day.
Sending my first born to Kindergarten was incredibly difficult for me. Sharing my baby with the world was a struggle and I know many other parents out there feel the exact same way. Now, my oldest is in 1st grade and has an excitement and a love of learning that I know was planted her 1st year of school. So here is what I learned from that very first, very hard year of sending my first born out into the world. Here is everything I learned in Kindergarten.
1. Share everything. Even your children. Share them with their teachers, other children and even school admin and librarians and art teachers. Share them so other people get to enjoy the person you have put forth so much effort and raised in such a way that these people, these professionals that studied education get to tell you, "Good job" and get to love your kids as you do. It's hard sometimes to see them bond with another adult other than you. I have had my kids say to me, "That's now how Mrs Lynn does that." But I take a deep breath and respond, " I am not Mrs Lynn."
2. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. I had these a lot this past year. On days when Mattie came home and told me she didn't eat lunch because it was gross but I was too busy that morning to pack her lunch so it was my fault I had a starving 5 year old at 3pm. Also nachos with lots of processed cheese and jalapeños are good for you as well as wine, beer and tequila. They are all good for you in large quantities during Kindergarten year! You will always want at least 1 if not all these things on hand for days when they tell you they were kicked by another child, again.
3. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. Everything is good in balance. Some days she came home beaming about how awesome her day was and some days no one noticed her art work. Try not to focus on all the bad. The bad is going to happen. Focus on what was really good during her day and forget what didn't go the way you had planned for your child, trust me they never notice the bad as much as you do. And you get to teach them how to deal when the bad does come along. Everyday will not be perfect and you are going to have to deal with that ( see processed cheese in #2)
4. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant grows up. You have a front row seat to the growth of your child and if you are lucky you had teachers that supported and loved that growth and told you over and over and over. THAT is what makes it okay in the end. THAT is how you will survive. Be their roots and allow their growth.
5. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK." Look at the child you have today, after Kindergarten has completed. Look at how they have grown and developed and be sure to not only look but to listen.
Listen to their thoughts and desires because most likely they know more about what they want then you do. You will start to see a real live person, not your baby. A person with ideas and thoughts and opinions and if you are lucky they share or sometimes scream their opinions and you as their parent should be so proud of the growth you have SEEN.
This year Mattie came home and told me of stories that she helped kids in her class. She told me of compliments she received and awards that were coming. She celebrated best friends and reading accomplishments and she developed a bond with her teacher that is unlike her bond with me. And that is okay.
She doesn't need me to shelter her and protect her or save her. She is doing just fine on her own and that is all we really want as parents. So that one day, one day when we are not there to hold her hand she will know what to do, instantly.
She will just know because she has been given the roots to succeed and sometimes those roots come from her mom and dad and sometimes they didn't but the goal of growth was still the same. The water just came from a few different sources.
Letting go is hard and holding on is impossible but all you really needed to know about parenting you will learn in Kindergarten!