Well the day finally arrived. Our first official day of kindergarten! My daughter's first day was Monday this past week with a meet and greet. With all of our preparing we were finally ready! School supplies were packed, uniforms purchased and even a cute little card my daughter insisted on making for her teachers. My daughter and I had discussed in detail about what kindergarten will be like on and off all summer. She is ready, I thought and so am I. Monday went well. She settled into the classroom, unpacked her supplies, labeled them and organized everything the way the teacher wanted. She saw old friends and met new friends. Great, I thought, everything is going perfect. We are ready!
The next day, would be her first "real" day. Even though we didn't get to do our "dress rehearsal", I was confident all would be fine and we would arrive on time on Tuesday morning. Her anticipation was growing all Monday night. Before she went to bed, she said, "I wish it was morning already." I asked her why and she said, "Because I can go to school!" Yes, she was ready.
That evening, I packed her snacks, back pack and washed her new water bottle. I read the packet of information that was sent home with us on Monday and there was a cute excerpt from a book "The Kissing Hand", written by Audrey Penn. This story is about a raccoon and his first day of school. The story is so cute and bittersweet (see the link(s) on my links page). I would read her the excerpt over breakfast (as asked by her teacher) and all will go well, I thought.
That night, as I fell asleep, I was excited for her and felt that all was good with me too. Unfortunately, that night did not play so well for me. I had a terrible dream about a company I used to work for 10 plus years ago that was so real I woke up not knowing where I was or what day it was. Then I thought, oh yes, it's the first day of kindergarten! I brushed the dream off and got out of bed and made my way to the kitchen to make my morning coffee, then it hit me all at once, hard and fast. My daughters going to kindergarten, yes kindergarten and the flood gates opened. I cried. Cried for the sadness I felt for my little side kick moving on in life, cried for all we didn't get to do this summer, for all the memories we made this summer, for her growing up and becoming more independent, for her next stage of life...you name it I cried. The tears were just as happy as sad. Because, you see, today I would be gaining independence as well. 5 plus years of dreams on hold, my ever growing to do list, that by now I can probably wrap around the world several times, for "mommy" time, for doing what I need to do and want to do. Yes, today we both were moving on with a new phase of life and gaining our independence.
After several minutes of tears, (they kept coming on and off for the next hour), it was time to get her up and moving (thank goodness I allowed for 2 hours this morning to get out the door)! She was still asleep resting peacefully. I slowly woke her up. She knew what the day was and was so excited. I blinked back the tears and smiled and knew I have done my job right.
As we arrived at school, all the kids were ready with smiles and excitement. I didn't have another breakdown of tears, but my eyes welled up more than once as did all the other mothers and fathers. A special day, a moment in time...I will cherish forever.
As the door shut on her classroom and I walked away the tears came back again. I thought I need to make today special at pick-up, just because. So I went and bought balloons for her and made her a card. I think they were more for me than for her. I contemplated bringing them to class, but I am thankful I did not, because no other parent had done this and I didn't want to make the other parents or kids disappointed. She came home to her balloons and her card and was thrilled. It was a special day!
I asked her if she missed me at all this past week. She said, "A little mom". I was sad, but then realized I did my job....yes indeed, I did my job. My daughter is a happy independent kindergarten girl!
Whatever grade your child is starting this fall, make sure you and your kids are prepared. Always talk to them about the importance of anything "big" in their lives. Remember to prepare yourself as well. This time can be tough on both of you or just you, it's ok for them to move on, that's life. The more you prepare, the better both of you will be able to deal.
Also, make the day special, this only comes around one time a year and the first day of kindergarten only comes around once. Surprise your child with something special at the end of the day, you never know how their day went....either way you can't lose. All of my best, Dyan