Should I first hand you a Kleenex?
Today’s a big day for you and your child. Five kids ago, when I dropped my first child off at school, my first thought was…
#*$&%. We should’ve left earlier. That’s right, we were nearly half an hour late to our FIRST child’s, FIRST day of school, EVER. Insert #parentingfail here.
In a stroke of genius, I called my own mom through my tears as I sped along the road to get our son to school. Her wisest words to date were these gems, “Mom up, Kathryn. This is not a big deal. It will only BE a big deal if you keep crying.” Spoken like a true former school teacher.
We heeded the advice, took Will to the classroom, skipped the happy first day of school pictures (we took them the next day) and hurriedly rushed to his teacher. He glanced, glanced, back at us and said, “Y’all can go ahead and go. I’ll be fine.”
And he was.
That little kindergartner is now a full-fledged seventh grader. I’ll be taking him to middle school today and I’m quite certain I won’t even get the glance as he hurries off to class. It will probably be more like an eye roll.
About one billion moms will tell you:
“Oh, the years go by so fast.”
“Just yesterday we were in kindergarten.”
“They don’t stay little for long.”
“Enjoy the days of no homework, ’cause it’s coming.”
“This is nothing compared to high school/college/marriage/first job/first baby/other life event.”
My advice is simpler and not as patronizing:
“Be proud of your kid.”
You taught them how to eat by themselves so they will totally rock lunch. The yogurt won’t get eaten, but somehow they’ll manage to make it to dismissal without passing out.
You taught them how to pee and poop without assistance, they will own the bathroom. And, if they have an accident they will be fine. Maybe a little wet, but fine.
You taught them how to make friends and in a few days new names will begin to fill their vocabulary. Soon, his buddy Max will be more influential than you are. This is normal, do not panic.
You taught them the love of learning and they will surprise you with what they can fit into that brain of theirs. So if the kid next to them reads chapter books and they can barely sound out “dog” and “cat,” don’t sweat it. It will all level out. Trust me.
You worked hard to get them here, don’t blow it by hovering and telling them how to do it. They’ll find their own way and it will likely not be your way. They do this to prepare you for the teenage years. Again, completely normal. Frustrating as hell, but normal.
As a new school mom, you’ll screw up in carline, forget to turn in the yellow form, send in the wrong snack, pack the wrong change of clothes. You’ll delete the “DO NOT DELETE this email for any reason” email. You’ll forget that it’s class superstar day, mark the supplies wrong and fill out the wrong volunteer form. You’ll volunteer for something you hate, wish for the teacher you don’t have and complain about the things that don’t matter. You’ll get your panties in a twist about where people park, who walks their kids into class and why the no cell phone signs aren’t bigger. And guess what? We all did it. Even that PTA Mom who has makeup on, her hair fixed and does all that volunteering without breaking a sweat, did it.
You’ll be fine. It. Will. Be. Fine.
Your groove is coming. It may take a few more kids, a few more years, a few more teachers, but in a few years you’ll be the mom with many of the answers, holding out the tissues for the rookie moms.
This school thing is pretty awesome. The seeing your kids get smarter, make friends, learn a new skill, problem solve and grow up is a beautiful thing. Beautiful. Don’t waste it wallowing in the corner with tears about what was. THIS is your now and it’s a helluva lot of fun.
Happy first day of school.