To The Mom Dropping Off Her First Child To School:
You did it. I know you can’t believe you’re already at this point in your life, but here you are. You’re dropping your very first child off to school.
You grew those sweet little wings over the last five years and now it’s time for her to take flight. That first nudge out of your nest seems completely impossible and unfair, doesn’t it? How did the time go so quickly? How do the days feel so long but then the months fly by? You knew this moment was coming. You tried so hard to slow this summer down. “45 days left,” turned into 2 in a blink of an eye. You soaked her up as much as you could this last week. But it wasn’t enough. It never feels like enough.
But now her wings are spread and she’s about to jump out of your arms and into this unknown world that you don’t have 100% access to. This is only the first tiny step you both will make. This is the start of 13 years of school that you get to help guide her through. She’s ready. You both are ready.
You read all the baby books, twice. You scoured the internet for more reading material on how to care for your little infant once she’s born. You downloaded all the apps showing you how big your little one is growing in your belly and you waited anxiously for the emails detailing the changes going on inside of you. You labored through excruciating pain so you could finally hold her, whom just seconds before was curled up inside. You held your little miracle and cried tears of joy that you are actually a mom. She made you a mom. A mom! She did that for you.
You walked through motherhood for the very first time, not having a clue what you were doing but figuring it out as you went. You swaddled this tiny human and fed her at all hours of the night. You sang lullabies as you rocked her to sleep in the dark, quiet hours while the moonlight penetrated the window. She depended on you for every single thing.
You fed her mashed peas, then later cut her grapes in half so she wouldn’t choke. You fought with her on eating her dinner, bribing her with ice cream on the nights you felt like giving up. You comforted her through sicknesses, sent her to timeout for the hundredth time because she told you ‘no,’ and withstood major tantrums in the middle of the grocery store. You put Band-Aids on boo-boo’s and you kissed her cheeks as she sobbed over having to share toys she didn’t want to.
You cheered her on as her daddy ran alongside her bike, teaching her to ride without training wheels. You belly laughed so hard with her when she danced on the table in the living room to the Trolls soundtrack. You beamed with pride when she finished her first 48-piece puzzle without your help.
You taught her morals and you showed her what it is like to love other people. You taught her kindness, empathy, and integrity. You taught her to be respectful of her teachers and fellow classmates. You gave her this foundation and it’s time to trust that it’s strong enough to withstand the outside world.
Now you stand outside of her school with her, holding her hand just as tightly as she holds yours. Her backpack is filled with glue sticks, crayons, markers, and Kleenex. Maybe the teachers ask for Kleenex so you can sneak a few out of the box on your way out the door. She has a brand new outfit on as well as a nervous smile on her face. She’s hesitant, but excited. She won’t let go of your hand, almost as if she’s silently asking you to guide her through this first leap.
You find her seat, get her settled, and give your kisses and goodbyes. She waves as you walk out of the door. She turns her head to watch other parents saying goodbye to their kids but your eyes are glued to her. Your tiny, 7-pound baby is now a Kindergartener. The reality is piercing your heart. She’s so smart, brave, and beautiful. She’s such a beautiful girl and you hope so badly the other kids see that in her as well.
The other kids! You panic. The what-if’s set in:
What if someone is mean to her?
What if she has to go potty but is too afraid to ask?
What if she misses me and breaks down?
What if she falls on the playground and scrapes her knee?
What if she doesn’t make any friends?
But what if this is the best day of her life?
What if she makes so many friends she can’t remember their names to tell you after school?
What if she falls in love with her teacher so much that she sees her as a second mom?
What if she learns more in one day than you’ve been able to teach her in one month?
She’s going to be okay, Mama.
You get to hold her once she gets home. You get to be her safety net, her security blanket through this new adventure in her life. While you won’t know exactly what happens in school, she will give you a pretty good recap when she sees you. You are her Mama. You are the most important person in her life and she will still seek you out for comfort. You can’t protect her from everything, but you can help guide her decisions so she can help protect herself.
Trust that you can let go. Trust that she’s ready for her own little world outside of the comfort of your home. Trust that her teacher is capable of helping her navigate this new adventure. Because in all honesty, aren’t Kindergarten teachers the best?
Take your moment to feel the emotions you’re feeling. You deserve every right to be emotional about this. You get to feel the anxiety associated with all of it. It’s your right as her Mama to be a little scared and sad about her new big step in life. Now take a deep breath. Let it out and let the fear out with it. Go buy yourself a fancy coffee and take a stroll through Target. Maybe buy her a new coloring book to keep the celebration going once she gets home.
This is a big day for both of you. I’m proud of you for trying your hardest to get through this, in whatever way you can.
I’m told it gets easier with each child. I guess we will both have to wait and see.
Sending you love and a big virtual hug for being brave.
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