As a child, I remember being excited and nervous as the new school year began. I loved back-to-school shopping for clothes and school supplies. Each year, I would search for THE perfect “Trapper Keeper.” Then I would cling to it as I walked into my new classroom, butterflies in my stomach as I entered.
My oldest son started first grade this year. A big transition, I would find out, from kindergarten last year. My husband drove him to school on his first day, at my son’s request. Sure, it was a bit hurtful for me. I tried to tell myself that he spends all day with me and being with Daddy is a special occasion.
Still I can’t help hearing the voice in my head that screams, “I quit my job to be with you! I give up eating warm meals, private bathroom time, and showers that last longer than six minutes! And you want your Dad instead of me?” Of course I would never say those words to him. I just smile. I hand him his carefully packed lunch with the sandwich, minus the crust, snacks and note inside that says. “You are special! Have a great day!” Then I hug him extra tight and watch my little boy drive away, growing up before my eyes.
Before we get into the school routine, the days seem longer than usual. My four year old asks me every hour if it is time to pick his brother up yet. The baby crawls around looking for him and making kissing noises. It seems like the summer was too short and we miss him.
Starting school seems to be hard on everyone. My son has a new class and doesn’t know any of the kids. We have many mornings of tearful goodbyes. I drop him off at school with big hugs and a cheerful “See you later!” I watch him hang his head as he slowly walks to the playground. It is heartbreaking for a mother to watch her child being unhappy as he walks into school. As sad as it makes me, I remind myself that it could be worse, way worse.
When I started kindergarten, my Mom tells me that I cried every day. She used to walk me into the classroom and run back with my baby brother, holding the door closed behind her as I screamed and clawed to open it and the teacher held me back.