Thursday, August 10, 2017

Preparing For Kindergarten

This is one of those moments that I've thought about since becoming a mom: sending my baby to her first day of school. Real school. All day school. Gone 5 days a week. It was like this huge milestone that would signify she wasn't a baby anymore, and didn't need mommy 24/7, that my life with her was over. She would be stepping out into the real world and there would be no turning back. I couldn't protect her forever and I'd have to learn to let go. She would have to make her own friends, and find people to sit in the cafeteria and eat lunch with. She would learn who she was. And learn to adjust being away from us all day long. Well...that day was just as depressing as I always thought it would be.

I've been trying my best to be happy happy happy about sending Kinsley to Kindergarten. But deep down, I'm breaking in a million mommy pieces. I've had knots in my stomach for a week straight at the thought of watching her walk into her school all by herself soon. And seeing her standing at the pick-up line at the end of the day, knowing how anxious I would be at hearing all about her day! Being a mom is great and wonderful (and stressful and crazy at times), but nobody prepares you for how hard it is to let them go. To rip the bandaid off, so to speak, and let them be them. To kick them out of your car, and hope they have a great day and not know ANYTHING about it for hours. It's horrible. Just horrible.

But man, my sweet baby girl has been beyond excited to start school again. She did VPK last year, half days 4 days a week...and while that was hard on me, she absolutely LOVED school! So it certainly makes it easier when she's happy about going, and helps me from completely breaking down in front of her. So now that she's going to "big girl school", she's been excited about it for months! She got to go to school today to get a taste of what kindergarten is going to be like. They brought her class in in small groups, and got them used to what they would be doing, showed them around the school, they got to eat lunch in the cafeteria, and only went for a half day. It's a genius idea, so the kids aren't completely overwhelmed come the first day. Although it was technically her first day today, her "REAL" first day is next Tuesday, the 15th- where she will go all. day. long.

We picked out her backpack, her lunch box, bought her school supplies, her first day outfit for next week, made her teacher a gift, and have tried out best to talk about school as a really great, exciting and positive experience with her. It has helped, because this morning she said her goodbyes with a smile on her face. The sweetest thing we did with her (by her teachers recommendation) was to kiss the top of her hand. And that way if she ever gets scared, or misses us or needs a quick reminder that we love her, she can put the top of her hand to her cheek and remember how much we love her. Kyle ended up walking her into her class this morning and reminded her about her hand and if she misses us to just put it up to her cheek and she said, "I know daddy. I already did it". Ugh, my heart.

She kept saying "I'm a little bit nervous, but it's ok to be nervous, right? Because I'll make new friends and I'm so excited about all the new things I'm going to learn!". Sometimes I just look at her and think how did you come out of me? I'm the complete opposite. I'm the worrier- like a MAJOR worrier. I'm the one who has serious anxiety over change, who is a nervous wreck leading up to new events in our life, and who has honestly thought about this moment for almost 5 years! So I'm glad my child is the exact opposite because lord knows if she was sad about going to school I probably would have scooped her up and said "OK FINE! You don't ever have to go to school! I'll homeschool you!".  But her "prep" day at Kindergarten was GREAT and she had so much fun and can't wait to go back to school for real next Tuesday! Such a relief, such a sweet sweet relief that she loves it!

Being a mom is hard. It's hard in so many aspects. But the hardest thing to experience, is learning to let them go. Learning that your life from here on out will always be an evolving journey, with lots of new chapters along the way, and learning as a mom to navigate through them and adapt with your child.  I think momma needs Kinsley to kiss the top of my hand, so I can hold it up to my cheek every minute of every day that she's away. Because man, I definitely need the reminder that she loves me, too. Next week is going to be tough, and I need the tissues ready.

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