On Your First Day of School

How to mentally prepare when your kids are starting school | The Champagne Supernova

My oldest daughter starts Pre-Kindergarten in a couple days.

She’ll be going to a different school than the daycare she’s attended the last few years.

Everything will be new.

She’s four.

She loves Peppa Pig, Anna and Elsa, wearing dresses, swimming, trying to do cartwheels, painting, reading books, eating watermelon, building sandcastles, saying memorable one-liners, and drinking Shirley Temples (with extra maraschino cherries, of course!) She hates having sunscreen applied, pinto beans, and having her tangly hair brushed.

Can’t say I blame her.

It’s hard to believe it’s time for her to start “real school.”

Just me and a million other parents across the country, commiserating about our kids growing up and crying into their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we’re up late at night preparing for the next morning.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2015, about 55 million students attended elementary and secondary schools. Of that figure, 35.2 million were in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade.


That’s a whole lotta school buses, Crayolas, graph paper, and number 2 pencils.

A lotta life chapters opening and old ones closing.

I don’t like it.

Not one bit.

The idea of getting older is scary. I can’t accept being at a stage in my life where I see friends losing their own parents, there are wrinkles under my eyes, teenagers think I don’t understand them and call me “Mrs.” and that 1996 was twenty years ago.

I certainly can’t accept my children getting older. It feels like they will be wearing school leavers hoodies in no time. Where is the time going??!!

While my oldest daughter is my “baby,” she’s developed into a miniature person who is smart and has feelings and opinions.

When and how did that happen?

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Seems like yesterday I was nine months pregnant, buying detergent for baby clothes and ironing her baby clothes ready for when she came home from hospital. And now here I am, ironing her school uniform and getting ready to drop her off at a “big girl school.” You should have seen me when I was buying her uniform, I was a blubbering mess. Thankfully, Off The High Street made it so easy to find a uniform so I didn’t have to ponder over it too much.

It sets me off on an emotional tailspin.

There’s so many things I want for her and hope for her and dream for her and pray for her.

And I feel conflicted between putting her out in the world to be her own person, letting her make mistakes, and learning valuable lessons and wanting to keep her inside our sheltered home forever and ever.


On her first day of school…

I’ll help her put on her outfit, socks, and shoes that we carefully laid out the night before.

I’ll make sure her backpack has everything it needs to get her through the first day: pencils, crayons, and colored markers. And I hope her heart will feel good when she reaches inside and finds a note from ‘ole Mom telling her that I love her and am proud of her.

I’ll make sure she has a hearty, healthy breakfast, but will probably give in when she asks for a glass of chocolate milk.

Just this once.

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On her first day of school…

I’ll kiss her goodbye as I pull away from the drop-off circle, and I’ll be wearing my sunglasses with the dark lenses so she won’t notice me crying.

I’ll pull over alongside the road where she can’t see me, just so I can watch her grab her teacher’s hand and walk inside the building.

On her first day of school…

I hope she’ll keep her head up in class and use brave words if she’s feeling scared.

I hope she has someone to sit next to in the cafeteria at lunch and that the other kids are nice to her.

I hope she has so much fun making arts and crafts that she doesn’t worry if she gets paint on her school clothes.

On her first day of school…

I hope she gets sweaty and dirty at recess because that’s what kids are supposed to do.

I hope her teacher is patient if she’s having a hard time with the transition.

I hope she loves whatever books her teacher reads at circle time and can’t wait to get home and tell me all about it.

On her first day of school…

I hope she comforts a friend who is feeling sad and wants his or her own mom and dad.

I hope if she misses me, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she’ll see me waiting for her when it’s time to go home…

… and when she’s home, she tells me about all the new friends she’s made, things she learned, and how she can’t wait to go back tomorrow.

On her first day of school…

When I’m at work, I’ll close the door to my office so my colleagues don’t hear me sniffling.

I’ll drink ten cups of coffee so I can focus on the tasks at hand, when I’m really just thinking about her and wondering how her day is going.

I’ll remember to soak in the moment because while the first day of school might be hard to get through, June will be here before we know it, another summer will come and go, and it will be time to do it all over again.

Thinking about the moms and dads out there who are emotionally preparing for the first day of school in the coming days.



    4 Comments on On Your First Day of School

    1. Christina Slay
      August 11, 2016 at 10:55 am (6 years ago)

      My daughter is 4 now too. This month she transitions into the preschool class, thankfully it is offered at the day care she currently attends so I don’t have to deal with all that new school scariness just yet. I do think about next year often when she will start Kindergarten. It is terrifying. I could barely make it through this blog post without tears because I feel all those same overwhelming feelings. How did we get here… how is she so big already.

    2. Kendall
      August 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm (6 years ago)

      Such a sweet sweet post. Mine are still too young, but I certainly know I’d have all.the.feels if they were to go somewhere when we spend all day and night together all these years! 🙂

    3. Aja
      August 8, 2016 at 8:04 am (6 years ago)

      Hang in there! Several of my close girlfriends and I are sending our respective youngest children off to kindergarten this year and we aren’t sad one single bit. We agree it is MUCH easier the second time around. We know what to expect, we know the teachers, we know our kids will be okay, and I think most of all, we know they’ll still really need us.

      When H started kindergarten I felt like I’d never see him and when I did he’d be playing, doing HW (yep, in K!), or whatever. But I’ve found in the school years he almost needs me more, particularly emotionally. They need help processing all the new things they’ve experienced and learned, and they’re very eager to share experiences and knowledge with us. Mommy and Daddy are still mostly the center of their world, and we’re definitely “the calm in the storm” of the world.

      It’s truly a new chapter (a much busier chapter, IMO), but it’s got it’s own good. I would rewind time and do the little years over again in a heartbeat, but I try and remember them growing means they’re healthy, and then focus on the good in the new phase. And there will be good. But find a paper organization system stat. Lol. Hang in there!

    4. Sarah Thompson
      August 7, 2016 at 8:49 pm (6 years ago)

      I’m feeling all
      The feelings about VPK as well. Such a transition from being home with me. It’s going to be so different and so quite. We still have another week, so we are squeezing in a trip to the secret beach and Disney World, and jumping in the pool every day.