If you’ve been following me for a while you might remember a piece I wrote for TODAY and HuffPost a while back about my oldest son titled, “To My Son On His First Day of Kindergarten.” I still cry to this day when I read it because it reiterates how fast time flies. Now, three and a half years later, I’m sending my baby off to kindergarten and the emotions are running high, to say the least.
He’s my last. Even writing that pains my heart.
This is the last first day of kindergarten. The last baby to learn his ABCs. The last one to cling to me as I walk him to his class and honestly – I’m not ready. I feel like I’ve been in survival mode for what feels like decades raising babies and now here I am, a mom of school-aged kids. I knew this day would come and I thought I’d be prepared, or even happy as it will be easier for me as a working mom – but I’m not. I’m sad. I’m sad this chapter closed on me when I turned my back for a second.
After all, he is my baby. When I look at him I still see that chubby-legged little nugget who giggled all the time and fell asleep on my chest every afternoon. How is he now five? How did he go from having chunky cheeks and needing me to do everything for him to now packing his own backpack, dressing himself, and ready to take on the world? Kinder is his start line, and as a mom, I have to step back and let him grow.
With my first son, I was in a profession that required a lot of hours away from home so I didn’t get to spend my days with him. With my second son, I was lucky enough to work from home and we spent every waking moment together. I was there when he took his first steps. I was there when he said his first words. I was there – always. Now, I have to hear about his advancements through others.
Starting kindergarten also means my influence starts to slip into the hands of teachers and friends. It means the day will soon come where I won’t be able to walk him to class anymore. It means his friends will start to be more present in his life and he will want to hang out with them over me. It means those after lunch snuggles are going to be limited to the weekends and it means momma’s love in public will start to embarrass him versus comfort him. Why oh why can’t they just stay little forever?
Even though I know this is good for both of us, it’s still hard on my heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t about me and what I want or need – it’s about him.
So – To my baby on his first day of kindergarten,
Even though I’m going to miss you like crazy, I’m so excited for you to start your own journey. You may be scared at first, but that’s normal. Your teachers will care for you and teach you things I can’t. You’ll learn all about the big world out there and how you can grow up to make a difference in it. You’ll make new friends and start to get to know yourself better too. You’ll have tons of fun new experiences and maybe some not-so-good ones too – but that’s okay, that’s how you grow. Even though you’re becoming more independent, know I’ll always be here when you need me. While you’re off starting this new chapter in life, I’m going to do my best to embrace this next stage of parenthood and hold back tears. But for these last few days, I’ll just pretend time hasn’t snuck up on me, yet again.
Alexander – I loved you from the very start,
You stole my breath, embraced my heart.
Our life together seems like it has just begun,
You’re part of me my little one. (-AliciaK)
Now – let’s go crush kindergarten.