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Challenge: Back to School

A Letter from a 5th Grade Mom to a Kindergarten Mom

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I’ll never forget bringing my oldest son William to school on his very first day of Kindergarten. I was a roller coaster ride of emotions – nervous, excited, happy and a little sad – all at the same time. I was more worried about the unknown of “big kid” school, as William used to call it. I’m not kidding - I sat in the parking lot at his school (in my car) from 12:05-2:40 that first day of Kindergarten for William. I wanted to be there if he needed me. I wanted to be there, to be honest, if I needed him. It was just a true new chapter for our family. Since my William is the oldest of five kids, every “new” beginning has been set with him.

My William is entering 5th grade this year at the same school. My three other sons are entering 4th, 3rd and 2nd grade, too this year. As you can easily see, I’ve become a “seasoned” back-to-school mother and knowledgeable JOHNSON’S® Council member! I always have a soft place in my heart for the moms and dads dropping off their kids on the first day of school over at the Kindergarten door. I’ve been there 4 times, and I know it’s not always easy. I’ve seen moms leave with tears streaming down their cheeks. I’ve seen moms stay in the parking lot as I did that day a long, long time ago. I’ve seen moms walk away, afraid to look back because they just, well… can’t. It always makes my heart ache because I’ve been there.

I will see these moms and dads very soon at our school. Even if it’s not your first child going off, it’s still the same kind of ache. They are our “babies” and seeing them start school for the very first time, knowing that it’s just the beginning for them, it’s emotional. It’s the embarking on a new level of excitement for them, one in which they will make new friends, be on their own for the very first time and really start to be treated like “big” girls and boys.

My biggest piece of advice for all moms and dads out there is to enjoy every single moment. Embrace it all and be involved as much as you can. I look at my son William now and I don’t know where the time has gone! Kindergarten is such an innocent time. It’s all about learning letters and numbers and playing. It’s all about singing and interacting and enjoying. School gets tougher and tougher as you go, Kindergarten is that one time where you can truly just allow your child to embrace and love it all. Embrace this. Enjoy this. Cherish this time.

As much as this is the beginning of the beginning for school, and it’s difficult to let go and see them off… it’s a momentous moment. And one more piece of advice, make sure you take lots of photos and videos of your child going off! We started when William was off taking a photo of him every first day of school with a sign saying what grade he was entering and the date. We have done it every single year since. When he graduates from high school, my plan is to frame them all.

Kindergarten kicks it off!

Audrey McClelland is a contributor for JOHNSON’S®, the sponsor of this community, and compensated for travel and attendance at events. Every idea and word written is her own.

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