A couple weeks ago I sent my oldest babies to Kindergarten. Armed with alllll the gear, the cutest uniforms you ever did see, and countless pep talks from my mom posse, I pushed the lingering lump in my throat down to the pit of my stomach, put on my big girl panties, and off we went.
My whole crew loaded up in the minivan and headed out for the big 10 block drive to school. We parked, got out of the car, and as we crept up to the crossing guard, I could feel the tears swelling up in my weepy eyes. Despite his welcoming introduction and even a high five for my little Owen…tears!! I pulled them back in…deep breaths…I knew I had to keep it together until the girls were out of sight. We headed across the street and were again greeted by another friendly grown-up. This one asked me if the girls were twins, and as I squeaked out the word “yes,” tears…again! I sucked it up.
Olivia spotted her teacher first and walked right into her classroom. I don’t think she would have even turned around if I didn’t dash in behind her for a hug. We then followed Laine to her class, and while she came back for two or three extra hugs, she sat in her chair and colored at her table without even a sniffle!! I was shocked, but relieved, and made a quick exit before anyone changed their mind about being happy! I pulled down my sunglasses, held on tight to my husband Josh, and pressed on to the car…holding my breath all the way to 3pm. Our crew of friends from preschool seemed to survive the day. A few tears of relief when they spotted the moms at pick up, but overall…a great first day!
Everything post-first day, however, has felt like a roller coaster of change and adjustments…all of us learning a few things along the way like – send a protein filled snack for the afternoon and hope that it curbs a potential meltdown on the way to the car, don’t park anywhere near the ice cream man lingering near the carpool line or that perfect protein snack is null and void, crying and running away from the classroom at drop-off doesn’t mean they are unhappy ALL DAY LONG, and walking home from school is tough on hot and tired 5 year olds. I’ve already had to implement a morning behavior checklist for Liv, realized that peanut butter + hardboiled egg + turkey roll ups keep Laine smiling, and when all else fails, don’t be afraid to bring out the big guns…make believe money and a treasure bag!
These shenanigans have left me feeling EMOTIONALLY SPENT.
I’m a former Kindergarten teacher. I know these ropes. I know the life lessons they’re learning every single day. I know the hard work these teachers have put in after hours. I know the procedures being established to guarantee success in the classroom all year long.
I know it all, but here I find myself, stuck in the space between teacher and parent. It’s so tricky. My teacher self is impressed with the Open House presentations and evidence of learning already going down, but my mommy heart just feels heavy. Are they really ready for responsibility and tough expectations??? Yes!!! I know they are, I just wish I could sneak in and hug them, slip them a quick snack, and tell them how amazing they are a few times throughout the day.
But instead, what do I do?? Manic group texting!! I am grateful to the moon and back for the village of women I get to do this with. Panic attacks and praises. Highs and Lows. Successes and defeats. The kindergarten blues. We’re all in it together, and we haven’t let more than a few hours go by without checking in with each other and rallying pep talks that would blow your mind!
Transition my friends…I need more practice…ha! I know by December, our new school will feel more like home and all of these insignificant things I’ve let get to me will have faded into new worries about new things in our lives. I’m looking forward to the first day of school in January when all the world makes sense and we’re high-fiving Darnell the crossing guard because we’re so happy to see him after a long break! Counting down the days to this scene, really I am! Until then, deep breaths, and faith in the system! Anybody with me in this boat??