Lia loved preschool. Every day she would ask if it was a preschool day. And she’s been SO excited about starting kindergarten. We’ve had her first day outfit picked out for two days. She insisted on combing her own hair this morning and packing her own backpack. We took photos on the front steps like we always do then loaded into the car.
We dropped Max off in 3rd grade (how did he get so old?!) and took Ava to 1st grade. We hugged goodbye and headed to the other side of the school. We walked holding hands down the hallway and stood outside the door to the kindergarten classroom. We greeted her teacher at the door, hung up her backpack, and headed to her seat.
She sat happily in her chair and took turns hugging me and Josh. We took photos of her smiling at her desk. And I thought it would all be okay. But then it was time for us to leave and she wouldn’t let go. There were several kids in the classroom crying, including one of her good friends, and then she was crying. “I don’t want to go to school!” she said.
And I had to leave her. I had to leave my crying child in the kindergarten class and walk away. I could hear her screaming four classrooms away. We stayed for five minutes and she never stopped screaming. I wanted to badly to walk back into the kindergarten class and just hold her and stay all day.
I knew today would be hard. But I thought it would just be hard for me. I didn’t expect Lia to have a full on epic kicking and screaming meltdown when we left. And I didn’t expect to have to walk out the front door of the school, listening to my baby screaming for me, tears streaming down my face.
Sometimes letting our kids grow up is hard. I’m sitting here forcing myself to believe that she is happily running around the playground, sliding down slides and swinging on swings, shrieking with laughter. That she’s forgotten all about the heartache of goodbye this morning. That seeing her sister in passing in the cafeteria helped her remember that she’s loved. And that seeing our smiling faces after school will make it all ok.
Letting our kids grow up is hard, but we have to let them do it. I know that if I had gone back into that classroom this morning, it would have only made things worse. But that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I could have. As a mom, I often want to shelter my kids from discomfort and pain. And I think it’s okay to do that a little bit, but we have to let them have those experiences so they can grow.
Just know this… if you were crying at school today dropping off your babies (or you will be next week or the next week…), it’s okay. It’s okay to cry. We want them to stay little forever, but it just doesn’t work that way. Just know that they’re doing fine and you’ll be fine too. I promise. (I’m saying this for me too!)