Tuesday, July 16th, 2013...9:23 pm

Let’s Talk About Kindergarten

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She sprawled out on the floor, legs crossed in the air, pink marker in hand, and crossed out all the days of July until today. On the August page, she marked the first day of school with a number one. And then she counted. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Six more weeks, Mom.”

In six weeks my first baby will start kindergarten. I will walk her into a classroom filled with other five year olds. I will help her put her back pack in her cubby.I will smile at her teacher, find her spot in the classroom.  I will hug her goodbye and then I’ll leave.

And she will have officially started school.

“I’m so excited!” Nora declared.

“I’m so scared!” she added not ten seconds later.

Yes. Me too.

school supplies

We bought most of her school supplies today and as she put them in her new backpack, I had to back away. Tears filled my eyes and panic rose in my throat and as she happily packed folders and crayons, glue and markers, I stared at her, shocked that she is suddenly old enough to go to school.When did this happen? It seems like yesterday that my stomach sunk with that same feeling as I  prepared to send her to daycare for the first time. Those feelings of utter panic born out of a love so deep it hurts.

But this is different.

She’s not a baby.

I’m not inexperienced at leaving her.

But those things make it all better and then worse at the same time.

She’s not a baby. She’s able to tell me all about her own anxieties. We are enduring the lead up together this time.

I’ve left her before and I know that my own first day of school this year will be one of the hardest yet. I brought her to daycare before I had to face a room of my own students. But this year, as I look at the new faces filling the desks in front of me, my heart will be up the road, wondering how my own little student is doing.

How will I teach? I keep asking myself. How will I survive that day?

Her final bell will ring before mine. It will be Ken who greets her at the end of the day, not me.

I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again, I tell myself.  But it will be so hard.

The last time I did this it was all my anxiety. As a six month old, Nora had no idea the angst I felt about leaving her in someone else’s care. Her smile got me through. This time we share anxiety. And I have to just keep telling her it will all be okay.

And I have to tell myself too.

My own anxiety about kindergarten has sort of taken me by surprise. I’m a teacher. I LOVED school. Why should I feel at all anxious? Lately, I’m realizing it is because I’m a teacher and I LOVED school.

I want nothing more than for Nora to love school too. And I can’t control that.

I want her to feel challenged.
I want her to make friends.

I want her to love reading.
I want her to feel curious.

I don’t want her to take tests.

I don’t want her to turn into a piece of data on someone’s chart.

I don’t want her feelings to get hurt.

I don’t want her to feel peer pressure.

And I can’t control those things either. They will happen.

Nora’s worried about getting in trouble. She’s worried about not knowing anyone. She’s worried about not knowing her teacher. She’s scared of the cafeteria.

It will be fine, I tell her.

You’ll love it, I reassure her.

I’m so excited, I tell her.

And I am.

I’m just also really terrified.

School

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4 Comments

  • We’re doing this too. With you. I’m nervous, but so far Roozle is just really excited. We went to the school to play on the playground yesterday, it helped. I think we will do more of that this summer.

    I remember my first day of kindergarten. It was scary and exciting and fun. Hoping the same for these two.

  • We are mostly excited too, Casey. And playing at the playground definitely helps! We’ve even been peeking in the classrooms!

    Glad to have someone else who’s doing this with us!

  • […] the legs and shoes of a kid – of someone who is ready to take on school and all that makes both of us just a bit scared. She climbs higher and more confidently, races around the school playground like she belongs […]

  • There’s something about being a teacher which makes sending your own kids to school scary. It’s like we’re privileged to see the behind-the-scenes and therefor worry about what might/could happen! However, I have a feeling that her kindergarten teacher will be awesome and Nora will love it, as will you – once everyone settles back into the routine of things! Thinking of you!
    Vicki @ Crowning Victoria recently posted…Random Acts of KindnessMy Profile

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