OHMYGOD, We’re Back Again

We slowly walked away with forlorn expressions and broken hearts but then seconds later (once we were safely out of sight), jumped with total elation. Oh, Happy Day! It was the first day of Charlotte starting daycare. She was 17 months and still learning about the world around her with her daddy and mama by her side. The feelings of sadness paralleled the utter joy I felt deep in my soul. I was both sad for the end of a chapter (one that included keeping a watchful eye on her 24/7 without much rest or relaxation) and overjoyed for a new era to begin (freedom, obviously).

When you’re pregnant you hear all these cliches about time flying and not blinking because, before you know it, they’ll be night owls in high school with a perpetual crusty attitude. I hated hearing all those adages because when you’re in the thick of it (that catatonic state of early motherhood), the moment of panic that blankets your entire being (how am I going to navigate this new world and keep an entire baby alive), you can’t possibly imagine time moving faster than you’ve ever known. You focus on the task in front of you, you chug that room temperature coffee, you do a lot of praying (especially for sleep to come and to stay) and you function any way you can. But it turns out, it’s all true. The whole of it.

That day, the first day of daycare, was exactly 3 years ago. Seemingly a lifetime has passed, yet it feels just like yesterday we were dropping her off, nervous for her reaction of cutting off that invisible cord.

And now, here we are again. We’d been preparing for this very day for months now. The start of kindergarten was going to be fun and exciting. We reminded Charlotte that she would have a great time at her new school (being closer to home), with her new teachers, and new friends. She was 4-and-a-half after all, and 4-and-a-halfs know how to have the best fun in the world! All the parents waved collectively at their children in the school yard as the teachers corralled the kiddies (some crying and some confused) to line up against the wall to begin their entry into the classroom. Once in, the army of parents migrated over to the classroom window to cup their anxious faces into the glass to give their kids one last send-off. My husband and I were no different. We spotted Charlotte proudly carrying her new backpack and lunch bag while familiarizing herself with her new space. She bravely looked at us through the window as my husband and I arranged our hands into the shape of a heart. We’d been practicing this symbol for a couple weeks now, she surprised me one day by showing me she could manipulate her hands to form a small heart. “It means I love you, Mama!” Charlotte looked around the room then, and carefully set down her lunch bag and popped right back up with a tiny heart symbol of her own.

I was fine right up until that very moment, but then came the ugliest cry. I truly couldn’t be prouder to be her mama!

Here’s to the end of another era.

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38 thoughts on “OHMYGOD, We’re Back Again

  1. 😭 it’s so hard being a mom sometimes and so bitter sweet too. The growing pains of them needing us a little less each year is so painful and watching them fly on their own… Incredibly rewarding. Stay strong my sweet talented friend!! Enjoy your freedom by slipping out to a coffee shop alone because you’ve EARNED it. Trust me, you’ll be missing her more than she’s missing you. She’ll have new friends in no time and be beaming up at you chatting about her day. ❤️ You got this!!

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    • Sooo bittersweet!!!! As much as I was happy to see her move on in life, it was just as sad to see her go 😦 I tell her all the time I miss her so much when she was a little bitty toddler and she always tells me, “Mama, I’m not a baby anymore! I am a big girl!!! I’m 4-and-a-half!!” It makes me smile but also silently shed a tear too lol… And yes, the reason why I took this whole week of was because I wanted to be available to take her to school and pick her up leisurely without rush and I also wanted time for myself to just process it all (and hehe grab a coffee or two with friends) .. Thanks always for your support 💕💕

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  2. Part of the reason I love your blog so much is you write about moments that any parent can relate to. I never taught kindergarten, but I saw separation anxiety more than a few times in my teaching career. As a 2nd-6th grade teacher, it was usually with a student who transferred mid-year, but occasionally with children who weren’t new to the school.

    I worked with all types of administrators in terms of competency. One of my principals used to have a room for new kindergarten parents to debrief on the first day of school. She had donuts, bagels, and coffee waiting. It also was a time for parents to acknowledge and recognize similar feelings among one another. It was simply brilliant on her part. Not only was she helping parents get through a tough transition, but she was also fostering a spirit of community. “This school cares about my child’s needs. I think we’re going to love it here.”

    Parenting is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs on the planet. In that respect, it’s like being an educator. The one piece of advice I’ll offer as someone who has worked with children for decades is to be supportive without being a helicopter parent. Teach Charlotte to do for herself as much as possible. Some parents confuse love with doing everything for their children. They hover and give them everything they want. Trust me, she’ll be much happier, proud, and confident in the long run as she learns to address these things herself. I’m proud of our adult son for many reasons, but the one quality I love the most is his take-charge, independent nature. There is no problem too big that he can’t handle. We made our share of mistakes as parents (we all do), but this one thing we nailed out of the park. You got this, BB!

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    • I love your former principal’s idea of getting the parents together for a cry-fest (maybe some tears were shed? lol).. this would have eased some of my anxiety.. my husband went to an orientation which I think was good for Charlotte but I could see a separate session for parents to really sit down with the teacher and also have a chance to talk to other parents going through the same thing would be very beneficial! I hope this is the start of a wonderful, happpy school experience for Charlotte! 💓🙏

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      • I love to hear it!! Your post reminds of of a funny story about my baby sister’s first day of kindergarten. My little sister already knew the teacher from when the older siblings were dropped off at school, so on her first she ran right into the classroom… only when my mom yelled out “Daughter, I love you!” did she turn around and reply, “Ohh, bye Mom. You can go now!” 😳 I think my mom experienced that same proud-but-sad feeling. They grow up too fast, don’t they?! Enjoy it!!! 💓💓💓

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      • Awww lol your poor mom hahaha especially if she pictured your sister having a hard time and she prepped herself for that situation only to be told to go home LOL yess… sigh.. they grow up sooo fast :/

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  3. Aww. Such a big milestone. I remember that feeling when I dropped Laura off at Kindergarten. It was like I was losing all control and she’d have a new life that I wasn’t a part of. She turned around and marched inside like she had been going there her whole life. That’s her personality, though. Everything is an adventure. And now, she’s in Australia for a couple of months. The tugging at your heartstrings just gets stronger as they get bigger.

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    • Yes, Charlotte’s birthday is mid-April so she started kindergarten in September this year. She’s been telling everyone she’s 4 and a half since May LOL First week was great, better than I expected… she’s been having trouble understanding the difference between end of day kindergarten and after-school program…. most of the kids are picked up or leaving on a school bus to go home at 3:20pm and she and a few other kids are being carted off next door to after-school program but to her it feels like her mama isn’t picking her up and is late… so she has been sad a few times … it’s been tough thinking about her being sad or feeling like we’re never coming back for her but trying to be positive and explain things to her constantly so hopefully she starts to understand soon… in reality, she used to have longer days in daycare than in kindergarten!

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      • Let me start by saying the hardest thing for children is watching other parents pick up their child at the end of the day. Yes, they are sad! It’s natural, and very (VERY) common. The good news is that children are resilient, far more than we give them credit for. They adapt and become comfortable quickly. A cautionary note: when daylight savings time ends, it is dark early. I always have a talk with the children (and parents) the day before to let them know that Mommy isn’t late. Last comment (sorry for going on and on) is Massachusetts requires a child be 5 by August 31st before they can go to kindergarten. What state are you in?

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      • Hehe I’m from the state of Canada 🙂 In Canada, we have junior kindergarten (when you turn 4) and senior kindergarten (when you turn 5), grade 1 starts when you’re 6.

        You’re right, kids are super resilient. Case in point, one of the traumatized kids from the first week of school.. I saw her this AM in the class line and she was smiling and beaming at her mum! Thank you for the reminder, I will be sure to remind Charlotte about daylight savings!!! 💕🙏

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      • Ah ha! I should have remembered you’re from Canada. Your junior kindergarten is our pre-K, and your senior kindergarten is our kindergarten. Thank you!

        I’m so glad (and not surprised) that the traumatized child bounced back. The daylight savings reminder always helps. Best to you, Jen.

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  4. I’m trying to picture myself, circa 1961, when I started school. I don’t remember if there were tears or not and luckily I had a great teacher who must have made it painless. And whew – you made it too. The worst is behind you both … you’ve got this Jen.

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  5. My youngest aka the Devil Child wouldn’t let me leave her which is how she also acquired the moniker Velcro child. That’s how one of the teachers referred to her so I knew she was not the only or the first. She also cried when her older sister went away to college. The shoe is now totally on the other foot and I cry nearly every time I leave her!

    I did this the first time I left both of my kids at their respective colleges, so you have that to look forward to. They also cry, but only later, which gives you more opportunities to continue to mother them. It’s easier for both of you from a distance, at least in my/our experience. Good luck!

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    • hahah velcro child! never heard of that term! I saw some distraught children on the first day, I was worried that fear would rub off on Charlotte but she held up a brave face so I was thankful!!

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  6. Am I the only one who thought this was going to be a post about the Backstreet Boys? Lol. But it turned out to be something more heartwarming. I’m not a parent, and I wonder how I’d react to days like these, so thanks for giving me a glimpse, and thanks for sharing!

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