I wasn’t crying… per se. My eyes were just extra watery as I awaited the monumental moment I was to hand my only child over to smiling strangers. Strangers also known as “teachers.”
No biggie right?!
I stood there imagining her inevitable shriek, her plea for me to stay. My new little kindergartner was sure to feel her fight or flight response kick in. She’d dart away from those strangers like a football quarterback, barreling her way back into my arms. There’s no place better than that, right?!
I soon realized how wrong I was in my thinking and assumptions. My fantasy had all been in vain because my daughter let go of my hand and almost skipped her hind parts right pass the teachers and down the hall! She didn’t even say goodbye to me. I had to say it first! But in her eyes was a look I’ll never forget. It was a look of excitement and the anticipation of the new venture ahead of her. She was ready even if I wasn’t.
If, two years ago, she could have put that moment into poetic words, I imagine these to be the words she would have said to me:
“You can go mommy. I promise I’m okay. I’m so excited to be here. To make new friends and play.
I’ll learn things you haven’t taught me. And in a different way. I am a little nervous. But you’ve taught me to be brave.
I know this is hard for you. I can see it in your eyes. Now you must be brave, mommy. Don’t let them see you cry.
I can’t stay this size forever. You know I must grow up. You called me a BIG girl yesterday when I drank all the milk in my cup.
Go do the stuff you have to do. With the “free time” you talked about. I’ll be here for six whole hours! I won’t be around to make you shout.
The house will finally be quiet. And then I‘ll be back home, to beg you for some goodies while you’re talking on the phone.
It’ll all be okay. I’m really brave. You’ve taught me how. So no more tears, be proud of me. I’m a kindergartner now.”
I re-lived that moment as I typed and it’s a moment a parent never forgets. My advice to parents facing this rite of passage with your child is simply this:
Your kids are more ready than you think and if they are not, you will get there together. We all know it’s not just a new venture for them but for us parents as well. Those homework sheets are truly coming your way! So cherish all the moments as they grow and learn to flow with the current.
YOU WILL BOTH SURVIVE!