Today my Facebook newsfeed was filled with “First Day of School” pictures and I loved it. With brand new shoes, a snazzy new outfit, and a bookbag filled with shiny new school supplies, these tiny tykes were ready to take on the world, or at least a new classroom. While so many of my friends were shedding a few tears at the bus stop and encouraging their little ones to hold up their “First Day of Kindergarten” signs a little higher, other friends were looking quite cheerful at the thought of their older kids filling their days with school books. But not me. Today I got a short reprieve.
At 9:00 in the morning the kids and I were still sitting in our PJs watching TV, but I had that pressure building in my chest of impending sadness. While I’ve dodged the kindergarten bullet this year because of my boy being a summer baby, there are still big changes around here. In one week, my five-year-old will be in school five days and my three-year-old will be at school two days. And while I’m so excited for them to explore, learn, create, and play at their new school, I am also a weepy mess at the thought of them being away from me.
I don’t do well with change, and this is a big change. It’s also the start of a new normal.
Rather than filling our days with playgrounds, adventures in the backyard, and maybe too many hours in front of the TV, we’ll be on school schedules. We’ll take vacations when school is out. We will set our clocks to school time. And I will miss them when they are gone. I will MISS them every day.
Of course I’ll love the small chunks of free time and it will become the new way we function, but I will truly miss this part of our life, when it was just the three of us all day. And that is so terrifying to me. Since I signed on as a stay-at-home-mom, acting as cruise director every day has been my task. Now that’s all changing.
I have this sense of dread that’s gnawing away that I haven’t done enough for them. Enough to prepare them. Crazy, I know. These two are headed to preschool and not a cross-country journey; however, it’s all relative and I’m really struggling here.
Have I read to them enough? Does that little one even know her letters? Will they remember to wash their hands? What if someone is mean to them? Dear Lord, I CANNOT handle someone being mean to them. How early can I hope for a snow day?
What is it about school that brings about these irrational fears in mothers? It’s as if our deepest darkest fears will be recognized when we send our kids off to school because someone will realize we haven’t been doing our job and we’ve really just screwed up our kids.
Am I crazy? YES! I know my kids will be fine. They love school, they love making new friends, and they are so smart, but dang, the guilt and fear is weighing me down.
Yes they will be fine. But will I?
Maybe I just need to get through the first day or the first week before I can breathe a bit. I have an entire year before I have to put my son on a bus for kindergarten and few years before my gal follows behind. I know when they step on that bus for the first time, they will be golden and so ready for the big world of elementary school. Me, not so much.
But for now I have a little more time. A little reprieve before our new normal.