I feel all kinds of emotions about my kids starting school. Especially about Jack starting Kindergarten. Kindergarten!
Today he said to me, “Are you sad that I’m starting Kindergarten?”
“Yes,” I told him. “I am, a little.”
“Why?” he asked, digging into the pudding cup I’d just made him open all on his own (because in Kindergarten, you’ve got to open your own pudding cups, hear?).
“Well,” I began, trying to articulate my complicated adult feelings into a sincere answer a five-year-old could grasp, “because it means you’re growing up. Because you’re getting older quicker than I expected. Because someone else is going to be in charge of you all day long. Because I’ll miss you!”
“It’s okay though,” he assured me, as always perfectly confident in his logic. “You’ll still get to take care of me two full days every week. And I’ll be home for two weeks at Christmas.”
I watched him shovel in another spoonful of pudding, his big blue eyes serious as he watched me, and I felt myself tear up a bit.
“That’s true!” I agreed. “I WILL be able to still take care of your two full days each week.”
But of course, the range of emotions I feel regarding Kindergarten don’t all fall on the sad side.
And then I felt a little guilty, because I am also excited about my kids starting school.
You know what I learned this summer? That having the kids home all day, every day isn’t an ideal situation for me – or for my kids.
I don’t have it in me to entertain them all.day.long, and it’s hard (really hard, you guys!) to get work done when the kids are under my feet. I don’t want to be that mom that says “Just a minute…let me finish working,” over and over and over again. I don’t like it. The kids don’t like it. We are not better people for it.
If it’s hard for me, imagine how hard it is for the kids. They don’t want me to tell them, “later, later, later,” every time they ask for my attention. They don’t want to be bored. They are little, and although they play very well on their own, I can’t expect them to play on their own all day long.
And also? We are all better after we do our own thing every now and then. The kids are happier when they are stimulated and engaged and socializing. I am happier when I can focus on work, uninterrupted, and work on a project for longer than ten minutes at a time.
And I miss my kids when they are gone. I think about how quickly they are growing up, and I wonder what they are doing. I pick them up and start asking about their day before they’re even buckled in. I want to know everything, I am excited about what they learned, and I can go home and focus solely on them because I’ve had time to get things done while they were away.
I will miss then when they’re gone. I’ll worry, and I’ll be anxious. But I am also excited about the school year. I’m excited about having time for myself, and I’m excited about the journey the kids are embarking on. Kind of like when I was a kid and I was starting the new school year myself. The first day of school is all of those things, and then some.
As I write this, the First Day of School – and my crazy mom emotions – are safely 14 hours away in the future. I don’t know how the morning will go. But as I start rounding up clothes for tomorrow and planning what I’ll pack for his lunch (at least we know he can open his own pudding cups), I can’t help but wonder which emotions will surface as I pull away from the school. Pull away from my little boy on his day of Kindergarten.
Wish me luck.
Also? Watch this. It’s amazing.