Last year at this time, my Facebook feed was full of moms talking about the tears they had dropping off their child at school for the first time. I chuckled to myself, thinking it wouldn’t be hard at all. A break would be amazing! But here I am, going through the many emotions that come with sending your first child to school. I’m not talking about a 2 day a week program to give you a few hours to run some errands. I’m talking about every day, full day school.
My oldest is starting pre-k in less than a week. He is high-energy, like most boys, and in dire need of more structure. Summers are rough for the stay-at-home family. Unless you spend a fortune on every sport and camp available, you are at home the majority of the time. I also have a 2-year-old boy and a 5 month old boy, so you can imagine things are pretty crazy at my house.
On one hand, I am thrilled to send him to pre-k. It’s been a long summer of playing with his little brothers, and he is ready for more time with kids his own age. He is often the trouble instigator in our house, and I can’t wait to get a break from the “he’s bothering me” talk. He is happiest when I can sit down with him and paint or work on his writing. I know he will thrive when he is in the school atmosphere and enjoy being challenged.
That leads me to my next emotion, the guilt. I feel bad for not giving him the one-on-one time he needed this summer. Sure, I’m a stay-at-home mom, but am so busy with the house, cooking, running errands, and caring for all 3 kids that I feel like everything gets slighted a little bit. I’m hoping he knows enough to not be behind. We should have painted more and watched less tv. We should have gone to the park more and spent less time on the iPad.
Will the other kids like him? Oh please don’t let them be mean to my boy. And certainly don’t let him be the one being mean to others. I worry about his new relationships. I hope he makes the right friends and is kind to everyone. I hope he respects his teachers and listens attentively to what they have to teach him. He’s spent the last 4 years with me and I feel like I will be judged by how well he behaves.
My 4-year-old is very smart and deeply loved. Sure, he drives me nuts sometimes, but he is my little buddy. He is the one that made me a mom and has been my little helper ever since his first little brother was born. He cooks with me and can get his own snacks. He is the only one that can have full blown conversations with me during the day and can always make me laugh. I am so proud of his independence and willingness to help me. For all of these reasons, I will be sad to see him go to school.
So, little buddy, know that I will keep it together as much as I can, but if a tear or two slip out as you walk away from me with your backpack on, know it is coming from a place of love. I’m thrilled for you, just sad for me. This is the first of your 14 first days of school and a giant wake-up call that you are growing up. I will be watching the clock all day, eagerly waiting to pick you up and hear about your very first day!