Today I sent you off to kindergarten.
All summer you have been pretty excited to go to elementary school. To ride the bus with Number 5. To carry a backpack and your own lunch box.
Yesterday, when it was time to go to orientation, you were excited, too. You were excited to see your classroom and to find out which other kids were in your class.
But then, as we left the classroom, reality set in. This wasn’t preschool. The teacher was different. The classroom was different. The building was different.
Everything was different.
And you lost it.
You cried a lot yesterday. Every time you thought about having to go to kindergarten the next day, you cried. You proclaimed that you were not going. Ever. Kindergarten was stupid. Your new school was stupid. The bus was stupid. I was stupid.
You wanted to stay home with me.
“Mommy. I love you so much,” you kept telling me.
“I’m weally scay-yud, Mommy,” you kept repeating.
Ugh. You did not make it easy on me.
But truth be told, I did not make it easy on myself either. You are my little dude. You will always be my little dude. And you are a little bit of a momma’s boy. Okay, maybe a lot of a momma’s boy.
You come by that partially naturally. The other part? Well, I wouldn’t say that I’ve encouraged it, but I haven’t exactly made a huge effort to erase that aspect of your personality. You love your blankie. You cry when things don’t go your way. You still like me to pick you up. And sometimes I still do.
You see, while you are not the youngest kid in the family, you are the youngest boy. And I don’t know exactly what it is about mommies and their boys, but it’s definitely something.
There are lots and lots of pictures being posted on Facebook right now. Back to school pictures. Split screen pictures of sons on their first day of kindergarten next to pictures of them on their first day of college. I cannot imagine you being that big.
And so when you make it clear that there is still a little bit of baby in you, well, I’m gonna hold on to that for just a little while longer.
Last night when it was time for bed, you got all worked up again. You were hysterical and pretty much inconsolable.
“I love you so much, Mommy. I just want to stay with you! I’m scay-yud! I don’t want to go to kinderagarten! I want you to be with me!”
I immediately thought of the book we needed to read.
The Kissing Hand.
I went downstairs to find it on the bookshelf. It wasn’t there.
I looked in your room and Number 3, 4, and 5’s room. Not there either.
I went downstairs and pulled all the books off the shelf.
No Kissing Hand.
I searched for about ten more minutes, but I never found it.
So instead, I did the best I could. I told you the story.
I kissed the palm of your hand and told you it was now your kissing hand. I told you that if you got scared or sad while you were at school, you could just put your palm to your cheek and say to yourself, Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.
And you did it right then. You practiced. You rubbed your cheek and repeated, Mommy loves you over and over. And then you smiled. You smiled a really big smile.
You told me you might need two kissing hands. So we did the same thing to the other one.
And then I found a Sharpie and I drew a heart on each of your palms to remind you.
You smiled again. And then you said, “But Mommy, what if evewyone hears me?”
I told you that you had to tell yourself silently in your head. You had to think it. You smiled again and rubbed your cheek.
And then you started bawling again.
I did my best to calm you down. Daddy came and talked to you, too. But you had a hard time reeling it in.
It’s a good thing you are Number 6. Had you been Number 3, I would have completely panicked. I would have been up all night and I probably would have scrapped the plans to take the bus and I would have driven you to school myself.
Now I know better. That would have only caused more problems. I had to get you on the bus. But it wasn’t looking good.
Good thing for us you have the most awesome bus driver in the world and she is our friend. I sent her a message last night. I told her you were kind of a wreck. Okay. A complete disaster. She told me she’d see if there was an extra driver available this morning. If there was, he would drive and she would sit in one of the seats. She’d talk to you and keep you company. And if she had to, she’d come off the bus and pull you off of me.
We also have one of the best friends in the world who works at your school. I asked you if you wanted me to see if she could check on you during the day. In between sobs, you answered yes.
So I texted her, too, and I told her what was going on. She, of course, told me she’d look out for you. Cause she loves you.
This morning when you woke up, I was prepared for the worst.
But you know what?
You didn’t cry once. You didn’t complain or tell me how stupid anything was. In fact, you appeared to be back to your excited old self.
You did a few practice rounds with your kissing hands. You let me take the obligatory first day of school picture, proudly displaying your new ink.
And then you happily sat with your sisters and waited for the bus to come.
When we saw the lights of the bus in the distance down the road, I held my breath. I was sure, now that the time had actually come to leave, that you’d lose it.
But you didn’t.
The bus came to a stop at our driveway, the doors opened, and Miss P, our favorite bus driver, was not in the driver’s seat. She had gotten another driver so she could be a passenger and you could have a buddy if you needed one.
Of course, you were smiles from ear to ear as you climbed the steps of the bus, and you made me look like a complete lunatic.
Yes, there were some tears as the bus drove away.
But none of them were from you.
They were all from Mommy.
By the way, before you left the house, I put your lunch box in your backpack.
I saw you had snuck your blankie in there.
My first reaction was to take it out. To tell you that big boys don’t take their blankies to school with them.
I was also afraid if you felt the need to take a hit off your blankie during the school day, someone in your class might make fun of you.
But you know what?
You’re not a big boy. You are five.
I wanted you to have that security in there.
And if anyone gives you a hard time, well, I’ll just have to kick their ass.
Because no matter what grade you are going into, you are now and forever will be me little guy.
And Mommy loves you.
Mommy loves you.
Tears. Thank you for this 🙂
I sent my baby to school last week, and it about killed me.
And I cried with you. My boy is 12, started Grade 7 today and he’s still my little boy.
Sob sob…. The Kissing Hand. Have to find that before my one and only starts Kindergarten next year. sniff sniff, sob. I have to go and find a tissue now.
Tears! They had just dried from when I watched the video of their bus driving away this morning. For the first time in five years, I did not get to put them on the bus. I now have a teaching job and couldn’t leave. My baby started kindergarten and it was oh so hard to know he was getting on that bus and going to school and I couldn’t be there to do it. From the pictures, he was all smiles and now I am home to watch them step off the bus. Thank you bringing those tears out again!
That was awesome and so heartfelt. Thanks for a good cry, a happy cry!
Wahhhhhhh! That was beautiful. My little guy just turned 5 in July and just started school too…..I can relate.
kirsten martin says
This is one of the most precious stories I have ever read. It brought back so many memories of my own children who are now in 6th and 8th grade. So glad #6 had a great day. All of your kids are beautiful!
For my son’s first day of kindergarten yesterday he said they did hand painting. I was not sure what he meant until today in his folder was a laminated painting of his palm print – they made one for school and one to take home to Mom. They read The Kissing Hand yesterday as well…I think I like this teacher… Pam in NH
I was going to sleep and thought to myself ‘I have to see how Susie’s day went’. Isn’t that funny. Someone I’ve never met but I’m so concerned about your husband and the finances and everything!!
This was a beautiful post. Now I’m here in bed crying. My little boys are 2 and 5 months and leaving them each day breaks my heart. I’d give anything to be home with them. I can’t believe they’ll be off to school in the blink of an eye. The kisses on the palms was just so sweet, so touching. Only another mommy knows what we feel. It’s gut wrenching.
Xox hang in there girl. Sending you hugs, good thoughts, good karma and prayers.
Susie, this ode to your youngest son is the sweetest thing I’ve read all day! (I’m a high school English teacher, so I need some sweetness.). I love your Kissing Hand hearts on Number 6’s hands and now must find a copy of the book for my little guys’ library.
Oh boy. That choked me up. You’re such a great mommy! The Kissing Hand is a great way to go. I’ve done it before myself, and it was even the first activity/book my SECOND grader’s class did this year on the first day. Great job having him go on the bus. You’re right – eventually as you have more kids/experience, you learn that kids just have to go through the tough stuff. But MAN, it’s hard (on the parents…kids get over it instantly). I hope he had a fantastic day!
So how did his day 2 go?
Awww! This post is just so cute. There’s so much love in this post. I’m happy to know that he was happy to go to school. You did a great job making sure of that <3
Oh, Lord! I have to drop my first-born off at preschool in a few weeks. I’m probably going to cry more than he does. Good thing I have my 4-month-old triplets to keep me busy! Check out my blog about surviving life with spontaneous triplets and a toddler http://www.inthroughtheod.blogspot.com
Alison Palmer says
This post just tugged at my heart! Six is a lucky boy to have you for his mom.
So good. All of your posts are so good. I’ve been reading your
Blog since February and I’m never disappointed! Thank you for the great stories and lessons and just sharing your experiences.