I knew this day was coming, the day when my oldest son would be entering kindergarten. I tried to prepare myself all year by being more intentional with our time together. I absorbed every moment and captured every memory. But I only found myself staring at him wondering where the time went. My once baby was now a big boy.
Although his first year will look a little different since he will be schooled remotely as a kindergartener, the same anxieties for me still remain but for other reasons. Where my concern was once with the mere thought of us being separated and how he would adjust, it has now shifted to the worry of whether his education and social needs are going to be met.
As I was saying, it saddens me to think about these next steps. I have toted my son, Noah, around with me everywhere since the very beginning. He even went to work with me. Over the years, we filled our days with Kansas City exploration, more playdates than we can count, laughter and car ride conversations, and our impromptu stops for ice cream at least once or twice a week. I have truly enjoyed every minute spent together.
It’s not like we have never been separated. I did send him to a Mother’s Day Out program one day a week and later preschool for three years. It was never full time though. We always had a period in the morning for play and opportunities in the afternoon for additional fun. These days will always be cherished.
Noah asked me recently if I was going to cry when he starts kindergarten. I am not going to lie. I will have many emotions on that day when he finally sits in the classroom.
On the other hand, Noah is ready and beyond excited to embark on his new kindergarten journey. He talked all summer long about what he might learn and who he will meet and how much fun he will have on the new playground. Unfortunately, he won’t experience most of that in his first semester of school, but we are hopeful he will soon.
Even though I am extremely proud of him and know he will be amazing as a kindergartener, my fear is when he returns to the classroom. The concerns I had earlier in the summer seem to pale in comparison to the fear surrounding the coronavirus. I worried he will be overwhelmed. I worried about bullying. I worried about the change. Now, I worry about his health.
I have spoken to other mothers and the consensus was a similar response. All these thoughts and feelings are 100 percent normal, according to Adam Pletter, Psy. D, child psychologist. In fact, he suggests we embrace these emotions that we should turn them into excitement. We should look at it as a way to provide a positive transition and be a guiding force of love as our little kindergarteners navigate through their first year.
“We must let them spread their wings and fly.”
As a result, Noah and I set out to be excited! We ride our bikes to school. He pretends it is his first day while I cheer for him as he leaves for kindergarten. Since he will not be attending class in the beginning, we decided to register him in outdoor sports and carry on with playdates with classmates. This is a small sacrifice for the safety and health of our family and others.
As mothers, we wish the best for our children. To allow that, we must let them spread their wings and fly. These new experiences lead our children to growth and develop. And although I may cry the day Noah finally walks through the front doors, I look forward to the new chapter in his story.
Signing off, with a wish for all mothers of kindergarteners to have courage and strength that first day and a pocket full of tissues!