Sending My Baby Off to Kindergarten

IMG_20130808_064721_078My baby, child number four, started kindergarten this year and it truly, physically hurt.  I’m not exactly sure why I’ve had such a strong visceral reaction.  I don’t know if it’s because he’s the last one or if it’s because of the grief I’ve been feeling all summer.  Either way, the event has left me with a thin veil of melancholy, which is affecting my overall outlook on life lately.  Six weeks later and I’m still not passed it.  I now have two children in middle school and two in elementary school.  No more toddlers.  No more preschool.  Oh the cruelty of time…”The days are long, but the years are short.”

I’ve been dreading this all summer, but there was no more putting it off.  Cammy is six years-old, and he’s already been held back a year due to a number of factors: his July birthday, his physical size, his speech articulation and his mommy’s inability to let go.  When we attended kindergarten round-up before school started, I swear it felt like I was walking on death row, as I made my way down the hallway to what would be his first elementary school classroom.  I didn’t feel any of the excitement I’d felt when I did that with Hunter, nor any of the anxiety I’d had when I escorted Bear.  I didn’t struggle with bittersweet ambivalence as I’d had when it was Audrey’s turn.  This time, I felt sadness.  I felt old.

It wasn’t my first time at the rodeo.  I didn’t care to tour the school that I was already so familiar with.  I didn’t want to hear the lecture strongly advising us to let our children ride the bus the first day and to make our good-byes swift, so as to not to mess with bus schedules.  I wasn’t concerned about grading rubrics or lunch money.  I had to restrain my eye rolls during the speeches that encouraged volunteering in the classroom and for the PTA.  As I looked around at some of the young, eager faces of the moms who were obviously there for the first time, I felt my age and the weight of my seasoned disenchantment with school politics.  Yet, I was also able to remember the excitement I’d once felt as a new school parent, which made me a little envious.  A part of me, tired though I am, wants to go back and do it all again, with my first two.  It just goes by so fast.  Too fast.  When I looked over at Camden all I saw was my baby, who was taking yet another step away from me.

I ignored the advice and drove Cammy to school on his first day, IMG_20130808_071609_801 - Copy along with  his sister, who was entering the third grade.   As we got in line – and it was long – to get my badge so I could walk him to class, the tears started.  I tried to discretely wipe them away.  That was when Audrey decided that she’d be okay going to class on her own.  Off she went, without a kiss, without looking back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his classroom, Cammy hugged me and told me he loved me.  He was excited, as he should be, and I tried to be excited for him.  It wasn’t the time for me to rain on his parade with my tears.  I managed to hold it together – just barely.  I took a few pictures, but I could tell the teacher had pegged me as a “handle with care” mom.  It was time to for me to bid adieu.  I put my sunglasses back on and slipped out of the room.  I watched from the door for a few seconds, which was all I could handle.  He was on his way.  Happy.  Ready.  But I was going to miss him.

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I spent the whole day, a rainy gloomy day, alone.  I didn’t talk to anyone.  Rich was out of town, and come to think of it, he probably planned it that way.  My heart hurt and I cried myself a river.   A little melodramatic?  Absolutely!  An accurate reflection?  Afraid so.

After a few days of driving him, I took another big leap and put him on the bus.  He climbed that first big step and said his sweet goodbye – and he didn’t look back.

And so it begins.  I still can’t believe it.  Kindergarten.  Wow.

Am I crazy?  Did anyone else have a similar reaction when the last one went off to big kid school?  Or the first?  Any first day of kindergarten stories to share?  What am I going to do when I drop him at college?  Rich has already said I can’t be involved when that time comes.  And how about Audrey, dissing me?

8 thoughts on “Sending My Baby Off to Kindergarten”

  1. My kindergarten experience was a bit different. My twins (two youngest) entered kindergarten and I thought I’d won the time lottery! I might have teared up when the bus pulled away, then counted the minutes until the bus returned because I wanted to make sure they were actually on it, but the hours in between were mine, all mine. It’s hard to remember five years ago, but I’m sure I probably did nothing that day besides learn that I hate daytime TV – especially lawyers and prescription voice-over guys who tell you how many ways you can die by taking their drug – and that laying around relaxing doesn’t make me all that happy. I celebrated, though, that all my kids were now in public school, which meant I didn’t have to pay for childcare any longer, or at least in a way that I noticed.

    Your blog did make me tear up a bit, though. It’s forced me to think about how fast my babies are growing up and that I should stop and cherish small moments with them before they hate me all-together. Or ignore me. Or walk off, heading into their classrooms, with all the independence I’ve asked God to instill in them so that they become self-sufficient, substantial adults.

    1. I understand the twin thing. When B&H went to kindergarten I was so excited, because getting them there was such a battle:)! It gave me time alone with Aud. But yes, the passage of time has been weighing on me a lot lately. As for the teenage years, I’m definitely not looking forward to that. Rest assured though, I can’t ever see your kids hating you. Finally, please let them ALL, yours and mine, be self-sufficient!

      1. Allison, my heart goes out to you . . . along with a substantial amount of tears. You’ve raised your kids to feel secure and confident. They’re going to be wonderful people because they have a wonderful mom and dad. I’ve been proud of you for a long time. But I especially remember the first time I watched you with the twins at a restaurant in Atlanta. I dubbed you the “octopus” because you caught everything that flew, faltered or fell and never missed a beat. I was amazed. Now take a deep breath and a few minutes during the day to relax and reward yourself for a job (never an easy one) well done!

  2. Ahhhh….that had to be hard. Do you really want to go back with the first two, though? :) It feels like a lifetime ago with my kids. I feel ancient. My sadness was earlier this year watching Medium Alex drive away by himself. That was hard. I’m doing better with it because now he has a new found freedom and is having such a great time meeting his buddies after football games to eat, going to movies etc.. AND next weekend picking up a date for Homecoming!!! :) I am going to be a blubbering idiot.

    1. OMG!!!!! Homecoming date…no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still see little snotty running up to us for a big kiss and the way his 2-yr old fingers handled a remote. DO you like her? I’m uncomfortable with all this. I think I need to go bury my head under a pillow. I’m not letting mine date – ain’t gonna happen.

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