Looking Back: When My Heart Went Off to Kindergarten

My first baby went off to Kindergarten around this time last year. Now, she is soon to start first grade. I wrote the below post when I was right in the middle of all of the feelings of my first child going off to school. Last year, I was full of worry. I would often end up in tears as I imagined my daughter being off at school without me. I knew it would be a struggle to hold it together on that first day, or that I would fail at holding it together completely. 

Well, here we are… with a Kindergarten graduate and soon-to-be first grader! And we survived! All of us! 

Shockingly, I didn’t end up crying on that first day. My baby girl just hopped right up on that bus and looked back with only a smile. She came home that day happy as can be… and I was surprisingly okay! 

She had a great year. Of course we had bumps in the road, and some moments where it pained me to hear of a tough situation at school, but these moments also brought us closer. Each of these moments helped her learn and grow.

So, to all of you parents out there with babies starting school, check out my original post below. And remember, you’ve got this! Tears are to be expected, but the start of school may just go smoother than you expect. You are there for them and that is what matters most!

And PS: Her backpack lasted all year…

“They say” having a child means you are forever deciding to have your heart walk outside of your body.

This is one quote which most parents have heard and which most can truly identify with.

My daughter, my first baby, is going to kindergarten in a few weeks. I can imagine it. My heart is playing on the playground and falls and gets hurt. I won’t be there to comfort her. My heart may be made fun of by another child. She may not be included in a game with friends or not invited to a sleepover. She may be picked last in gym class. She may have an asthma attack and I may not be there to protect her. She may not enjoy school. She may miss being home with me.

Having my heart on the outside, I feel so exposed.

These are the big things I worry about, but even the small things cause me to panic. My sister-in-law was shopping with me one day and we came across the backpacks for back to school. She asked me if she could buy my daughter’s first backpack for school. To be honest, I froze for a minute. I panicked a bit and I wasn’t sure what to say. I had heard so much talk about getting the right backpack for school on social media that I was conflicted.

Should I get her first backpack? Should she be the one to pick it out? Should I get the super nice backpack from Pottery Barn Kids which is going to last? If I don’t get her the super nice backpack, will her backpack be good enough?

Then I realized, here I am focusing on what “they say” again. Sometimes we allow what “they say” make us feel like we aren’t enough, or that our decisions for our children aren’t good enough. It is hard not to when we are bombarded by social media, the internet and so on. There are so many opinions hitting us right in the face that we feel bad when our opinion differs.

I think about my daughter being in school. I wouldn’t want her to do something just because her peers are doing it. I would want her to make her own choices. If she likes something different than her peers, I don’t want her to feel bad. I don’t want her to fear standing out just because she makes a decision different than most of those around her. I want her to be herself… to be who she wants to be.

So that is what I did. After my long pause—I am sure my sister-in-law wondered why on earth this was such a hard question to answer—I told her, “Yes, you can buy her the backpack.” Because you know what, who cares what other people say or do. It doesn’t matter.

To those of you moms out there who bought your kids the best, longest-lasting backpack there is, congratulations! You are a wonderful mom! Your child will have a backpack which may last them through the elementary years. To those of you moms who bought your child the Walmart character backpack, or the plain backpack which I always had as a child, congratulations! You are a wonderful mom! You bought your child a backpack which will work for them! And for those of you who gave your child the hand-me-down backpack, Congratulations! You are a wonderful mom! Your child has what they need for school. And if something happens to the backpack we provide, the good news is, we can always buy a new one.

So, right now, instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing to prepare their children for kindergarten, I am going to focus on soaking up every single last snuggle that I can before my heart goes off to school without me. Then, I am going to trust that I have given her what she needs to succeed, both physically and emotionally, and I will be right there for her if she ever needs more.

Lindsey Martin Photography

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Parenting with Grace

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