The first day of kindergarten

Filed under: Just For Moms, Big Kids, Day Care & Education

Yesterday was Jared's first day of kindergarten. It was a new school, a new teacher, new kids... Just before bed Sunday night, as we were getting ready for bedtime stories, he confided to me that he thought he would miss home when he went to school. I think he must have thought it was a boarding school or at least a significantly longer day than it actually was. I explained that there was nothing to worry about -- it would be just like preschool and he would be so busy having fun and learning things that he wouldn't have time to miss home.

Come Monday morning, we got him up and dressed, fed him breakfast, and got ready to go as soon as my mother-in-law arrived to take care of Sara. We took two cars because Rachel was going to hang around for the PTA social but I had to get to work. Jared decided he wanted to ride with me. On the way over, we talked of politics and pledges, of naughty things and good boy things. When we got there, we met Rachel and went in to the school yard. Jared saw some of his friends and got in line with his class. The principal led the students in the pledge of allegiance and made some announcements. The classes then filed into their classrooms, one by one.

The parents all followed, this first day of school, standing around the outside of the classroom as the kids all found seats at the little tables. The teacher called their names, one by one, passing out name tags and having the kids each put their jackets, backpacks, and lunchboxes in their cubbies. She made some more announcements, we said goodbye, and left the room. I walked with Rachel and the other parents to the cafeteria, grabbed a piece of homemade coffee cake, and took off for work. I was happy for Jared, but other than that and a wish that I could have stayed instead of going to work, my focus was on getting to the office before I was too late.

Not so, it seems, for some of the other parents. Rachel has been having strong emotions about this for a while now. One of the parents from Jared's preschool was apparently so emotional that she couldn't stick it out; she had to go for a walk to pull herself together. Another mom was worried about her son starting kindergarten -- how would he handle it, how would she handle it?

I have to admit, I don't get it. Sure, I have some regrets -- I hate the fact that I have to go to work everyday instead of staying home with the kids. I'm upset that Jared's five already and he's only been camping once; Sara's never been. But emotional about him starting school? Getting upset because "my baby is growing up," as the cliché goes? Nope, I don't get it. Perhaps someone can explain it to me? How did you feel when your kids started school? Why all the tears?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.