As I dropped my son off at his one-day “get ready for Kindergarten” camp, I ran into a new friend. She was wiping under her eyes and when I saw her, and she quickly explained, “I have been crying all morning. I can’t believe my little girl is going into Kindergarten.” I consoled her, and then selfishly thought about myself… why wasn’t I crying? For a second, this news made me feel like a bad mom. My daughter entered the big K two years ago, and I didn’t cry. I celebrated the moment. I wasn’t jumping up and down cheering, I was just so happy for her and her HUGE life moment. If she wasn’t crying, I wasn’t going to cry… that was my rationale.
Now my youngest is on the cusp of his BIG moment, and there’s just something different about it this time. Both kids will be taking a huge step, both literally and figuratively, onto the school bus and leaving me for the day. As I imagine that moment that’s quickly approaching, I am becoming quite nostalgic but I also getting very excited. Is that wrong? When my friend told me she was crying, I felt bad that I didn’t shed a tear. My heart did swell as my little man ran into the classroom, but mostly because I was so proud of him. Thrilled that he was finally doing what his big sis had been talking about for years, “Going to a real school!” This wasn’t a baby school, or preschool, this was the real deal, and I knew he was ready and beyond excited.
But let’s get down to the heart of it. Why would I, as a mom, feel guilty. I’m sure it’s not so much because I didn’t cry, but more because my first reaction was “Mama’s got some time!” With both kids in school, my day has opened up to get my work done so that when the kids get home, I am organized and ready to be present. I am excited because maybe I get to say goodbye to “frazzled mom” and hello to “got-my-s*%$-together mom.” Maybe… just maybe. Maybe now the kids won’t think their middle name is “hurry up we’re gonna be late.” Please tell me that doesn’t make me a bad parent.
It’s funny but now that I’m talking about it, I am getting a little emotional. Time is be flying by. It seems like just yesterday that my little dude entered our lives, then I was teaching him how to turn around before going down the stairs or I was cramming to potty-train him so he could go to a few half-days of pre-school. And yet, even with pre-school, I was thrilled for him to explore his independence and make new friends. I can’t wait to see his cute little face sitting on the bus, his big sis taking care of him every step of the way. I know he will be smiling from ear to ear, and that he’ll come home with more stories than there is time in the day to tell them. When I hear those tales and watch how my little fella has grown up after just one day, I might just shed a tear (or twenty).