The big day is finally here! She started Kindergarten today. My mother-in-law said, “it’s not like you dropped her off at college or anything… relax.” She is right but, it is these moments, little by little, step by step, moment by moment, and all the memories in between that prepare us for the day they leave, right? The anticipation of every new milestone, getting through each one with grace, as few tears as possible, and enjoying every moment you possibly can – that is what will get us through the day they finally fly the nest- or will it?
As you can see from the pictures, it is not my daughter that freaked out because she is starting a whole new chapter in her life with a brand new school, a brand new teacher, and all new friends. It was me- I freaked out. Of course, that is how it is. It was a process to start this day too. In our County, we get the option to choose either our neighborhood school which is amazing by the way or choice enroll our kids into a plethora of other public charter schools. We tried to do the latter just so we could compare all the local schools, and see what shook out. It was an opportunity to see all the different curriculum, teachers, administrative staff, and of course, the schools and facilities too. For us, the biggest draw to the school we chose was the way the curriculum is taught and the leveling. So, if a child is reading at the 6th grade level, they will actually read at that level in this school! Not that my child is a super star by any means and not that I expect that but I like the concept of making sure the kids that need to be at the K level or lower are in the proper group, and the kids that need 2nd and 3rd grade advancement get that so they do not get bored or irritate others in the class by being mixed in with those who may need a little extra help reading. Similarly, for math if she is higher level, she would be placed with a higher group. So, it works out well all around. The drawbacks for our choice school: the time that it starts (super early) and no bus she can ride but maybe we can set up a carpool someday. Ho hum! All in all, we are excited and nervous at the same time. I think the change is harder on us than her.
Of course, all this being said, moving schools and going to school all day (even up to 12 hours a day) is not new to our family. Here is a picture of our Kindergartener as she started her first day care in November of 2009, after being in home care where she was the only kid since she was 6 months old! We both work so our kiddos have been in some sort of care since they were each 4-5 months old. Luckily, for a lot of it it was family-like care which is very nice. We were so comfortable with home care but we knew she was ready for interaction with other kids and needed to learn some things so it was time to cut the cord and ship her off to a good day care and then two years later, we changed day cares so she could be closer to home- that was just last year! I was a nervous wreck and was so worried she would not like the new place but not surprisingly, she did fine- it was an adjustment for me! You can read about her starting a new day care here when I posted around this time last year. Our big adjustment last year was packing lunches. Now, it’s a whole new game and we are all geared to set alarms all over the house too! That is unheard of because our children are generally our alarm clocks.
Our little girl is growing up- it’s only Kindergarten after all but it is these milestones and the memories that will come that will all help prepare us to release them into the world… slowly, but surely. A good friend once said to me, when I was debating quitting work and staying at home because I had a hard time letting her go at daycare, “Ratna, we raise them to let them go. We raise them to become mature, good, kind people to go out in the world and do great things. We slowly learn to let go- we have to.” She was right and I hold on to her words every time we reach a new milestone. We raise our kids to let them go just like our parents did to us. And, no matter what they do, we need to know that we tried so hard every single day even on the days we couldn’t keep our eyes open from the fatigue. Milestones and memories, memories and milestones- enjoy every moment I say… it ends too quickly. Now, I pray for strength to not stalk her school all week long, then all will be fine.