By Heather Jones of hmjoneswriter.com
“Does anyone make those chalkboards for the first day of school?”
As an admin of a Facebook mommy group, I see this post approximately 12 times a day, starting roughly around, oh, April. This request is only surpassed by recommendation requests for the perfect lunch box, and worries over choosing the wrong size backpack for a Junior Kindergartner.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand it. Well, sort of. I’m not spending $50 on a lunch box unless it is self-filling…and even then, it better clean itself, too. But I get wanting everything to be perfect when you send your little one off to school, and it is scary when it’s your first.
My oldest started kindergarten in 2013, and I stopped crying last fall. I cried on the first day of school, I cried on the last day of school. I cried on the first day the next year, and the year after that, and in-between. I cried at every single assembly. I will not judge you, people scrambling to make the start to school perfect and memorable, as you sob into your child’s new monogrammed Pottery Barn owl backpack. I get it. It’s a big step!
But here’s the thing. My youngest is starting kindergarten in the fall, too, and this time around, I’m not one of you.
Why is that? Because I love my oldest child more. No, of course that is not the reason (put down the pitch forks.) The reason is that I am freakin’ tired. My children are just under five years apart. I gave birth to my second child three weeks before my oldest started school. I’ve been home with Number 2 ever since, and he is exhausting!
I am writing this from a comfy chair at Second Cup, with only the sounds of terrible radio and my own pleasure sighs. Come September, I get to do this every day. Every day! I can get work done without stopping to wipe a butt. I don’t have to feed anyone but myself. I can accidentally nod off for a few minutes while reading without worrying that my kid has eaten seven muffins.
I approached my first child’s entrance into school with trepidation. With bittersweet feelings about how fast he is growing up. With worry that we would miss each other.
Five years later, I am checking the calendar daily to see if it’s almost time yet. Every time I think about it, the song that pops into my head is not Cats in the Cradle or Sunrise Sunset; it’s George Michael’s Freedom. Get thee to school, Number 2! Bye, Felicia!
A mom told me recently that there is a cry room for parents on the first day. I volunteered to run the beer room. We will toast to six solid hours a day of being an actual grown up.
I’m not a monster. Of course I will miss spending time with him during the day, and yes, I worry about him. What parent doesn’t? But realistically, he is going to school, where he will learn, and play with other kids, and have access to things we don’t have at home. And he won’t have me telling him to stop pulling on my hair and to put on some pants. This is going to be good for him, too. Kindergarten is freakin’ awesome. And we need a break from each other for a few hours a day.
Sometime before Labor Day, we will hit Walmart and grab a reasonably priced backpack in a style he likes. He’ll pick out his indoor shoes, and his practical but economical lunch bag. On the first day, I will watch with pride as he enters the school and starts his new journey. And then I will go home, drink my coffee hot, do my work on my own schedule, watch a show that’s inappropriate for children in the middle of the day, and happily return to greet him with a smile and a hug.
This post was originally published on The BabyPost.
About the Author
Heather Jones is a freelance writer in Toronto, and mother of two young boys. She is a regular contributor for Yummy Mummy Club and the Savvymom group of parenting websites. Heather has also been featured on the CBC, The Mighty, BluntMoms, The HerStories Project, and several other publications. Read more at hmjoneswriter.com and follow Heather on Facebook and Twitter.