I dropped my oldest kid off to kindergarten today and I didn’t cry. In fact, I was very excited to wave her goodbye and get this part of life started! I was the only mom there who wasn’t misty-eyed. Okay, maybe I wasn’t the ONLY one, but it sure felt that way when all the other mother’s standing in my vicinity could be seen and heard sniffling and delicately dabbing their eyes.
Why didn’t I cry? Why weren’t those emotions welling up inside me?
And it wasn’t just this exact moment; for weeks people have been small talking me, asking if I was going to be okay sending my oldest off to kindergarten. And I’m like….yeah, it’ll be great!
At back to school night, my husband had “the moment.” You know, that moment when it just hits you, right in the feels, that your first child is now old enough to go to elementary school! That rite of passage every parent talks about, he felt. But I never did.
I’m just excited.
I’m excited to have a few hours break from having my every step followed, including into the bathroom, by one less tiny human.
I’m excited to have a moment of silence from my oldest’s constant talking (first thing her new teacher said to me: “She sure is a talker!”).
I’m excited to pick her up from school each day and hear all about what she learned, the new friends she made, and what she thinks of her teacher.
I’m excited to help her with any school work (former teacher here) and to see her understanding of reading blossom.
But I still feel a little twinge of guilt, wondering if I was supposed to have tears of love and joy streaming down my face, like everyone expects. Like so many other parents had during drop-off today.
Maybe I didn’t feel any hint of tears because she’s in half day, afternoon session of kindergarten. “Half” day as in 2.5 hours tops. Kind of a joke, really.
Maybe it’s because kindergarten will be a half hour shorter (whole hour shorter on Fridays) than what her preschool was last year. So it doesn’t feel like “real” school to me. More like an inconvenient chunk of time in the middle of my day where I can’t get a lot done before it’s time to get back in the dreaded pickup/drop-off line.
Maybe I didn’t cry because she spent all morning fighting with her brother and it was driving me crazy.
Maybe when she starts first grade, it’ll be more “real.” I’ll feel a little jipped if that rite of passage feeling never hits me. Though I know someday, I’ll look back and the tears will finally come as I miss some of these moments!
So for now, I’m okay with my lack of tears. I sent her off smiling, my confidence in her being contagious to the point where she had no fear or separation anxiety. She marched right into the school, barely looking back to wave me goodbye. And as soon as she was through the school doors, I booked it out of there, eager to get home for my youngest’s nap time and a few hours of blissful silence and relaxation.
Just kidding. He didn’t sleep and I had a mountain of chores.
But if you’re a fellow non-crying Momma on this special first day of kindergarten, know that you aren’t alone. Tears, or the lack thereof, aren’t an indication or measure of our love.