It’s cliche to say that kids adore the last day of school and dread the first day when it rolls around again . . . after beach vacations and camps and entirely too much tablet time. Maybe it’s cliche because it’s mostly true, although I’ve seen plenty of kiddos crying when that final bell rang and heaps of kids excited about seeing friends and settling into structure.
You know, there are plenty of cliches for us moms, too: crying on the last day of school, dancing on the first day of school, and uttering, “I’ll allow it,” during those summer days. Or for the kindergarten mom variety — peeking in the classroom window with tears in your eyes because you’re not quite ready to leave. So many emotions about school.
And I’ve felt every last one.I have held back tears on the last day because I loved her teacher THAT much. I have rejoiced that a grade — which felt like eternity — was finally over. I may have uttered under my breath, “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.” Also, there were times when I couldn’t find enough gratitude words to express how much the teachers impacted my daughter and me.
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I have jumped up and down at the thought of more relaxed mornings. I have cringed at the scheduling and juggling summer requires. I have dreaded the fighting siblings and the “bored” declarations. I have loved every last second of having her to myself all day every day, trying to capture the moments like sand in my hand. These summers are flying by too fast.
Those butterflies that appear in my stomach when we walk up to the posted class list: Will she have friends in her class? Will the teacher be a good fit? What will the year hold? Is she nervous? Can she tell I’m nervous? I’ve jumped up and down in relief when we found out the teacher assignment. I’ve put on a brave face when we landed the teacher no one wanted.
The first day of school has found me rushing to get everything and everyone dressed, fed, and out the door, while I’ve also floated through the morning trying to burn each moment in my memory. How is this day already here? It’s been like a dream going through the motions in disbelief: Today is the first day of school?!?!
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I’ve felt the jitters and excitement of walking into the doors the very first morning, finding the kindergarten hall; I’ve beamed with pride when we’ve walked through those doors feeling more comfortable, more at home. But I’ve learned that it doesn’t just have to be kindergarten drop-off that gets you teary-eyed. Seeing those stairs to the third grade hall ripped my heart in half.
Those first day of school feelings feel all kinds of ways — and probably always will. So, here’s to you, mama, whether it is your very first first day or you are a seasoned pro. Embrace those feelings whatever they are, even if they catch you by surprise.