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School Time Brings the Emotional Roller Coaster

I can’t believe it. I just can’t.

I live with a first grader.

Last year, at kindergarten drop-off, she was nervous, dancing around my legs, holding my hand, peering her head into the classroom. What, I could almost hear her thinking, are they doing to me?

This year, at first-grade drop off, she marched into her new room, sat down on the carpet and seemed to forget that we, her parents, were even there.

“Oh yeah. You. What are you still doing here?”

If we had lingered any longer, the principal probably would have dragged us away.

Our first grader. She’s totally OK on her own.

It took all of five minutes of melancholic, I-miss-my-buddy-blues before my wife and I cured ourselves with a mid-morning coffee shop outing, a rare mid-week treat for us.

I believe this is how it’s always going to go: Five minutes of sadness to watch my little girl grow up and separate, ever so slowly from us, and then it will always hit: I’m free! I’ve got full hours-long stretches during the day to get crap done — at work and around the house.

It is an odd, roller-coaster mix of emotion that has me going in so many directions I can barely calm down. Sadness and joy, freedom and loss. The first day of school turns me into a wreck, while my girl seems to be doing just fine.

“Just wait,” my wife said, “Until she goes to college.”

That so much did not make it better.

Do you get this mix of emotion on the first day? How do you deal?

– Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!

Previously

Disney for Adults: Architecture Tour
First World Parent Freak Outs

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