This was it. It was going to be an exciting day, but also a little heart wrenching at the same time.
A special breakfast was made, the first day outfit picked out and a new backpack ready to go. This was the feeling about 15 years ago as we prepared for the first day of kindergarten with my little girl. Goodness, it just seems like yesterday.
In the weeks leading up to this big day for my daughter, it certainly didn't seem like it would end up being such an emotional day. I had no idea the connections I'd make.
My thoughts, at that time, would never imagine her being 20 years old and just finishing her second year of college.
Who can even think that far ahead? Yet, almost 16 years later here I sit remembering that first day of kindergarten and her stepping onto the school bus.
Time and years pass by without even a whisper of what's to come next.
First, you’re adjusting to a newborn baby, diapers and bottles. Then, managing sleepless nights, comforting tummy aches and ear infections. Next thing you know they're standing in their new school outfit and princess backpack ready to take on the world.
Among all the excitement, I was also trying to tend to my 3 year old son. Of course, he didn't quite understand the importance of this whole day. He had no clue that his sister was about to leave play time so she could head to school without him.
It's time! The kids, along with their parents, were gathering at the bus stop. It was a buzzing hub of energized youngsters, reluctant moms, supportive dads and proud grandparents.
We approached the group and with my younger son straddled around my waist, I made introductions and attempted conversations with the other parents. They were also being distracted by a roundup of backpack toting kindergartners, younger tag along siblings and the older more rehearsed students.
Between keeping my own emotions in check and holding a squirming 3 year old, I was able to talk with another mom that was trying to hold back tears. Her daughter was also in the lineup for the school bus along with my daughter and the other spirited kindergartners. I couldn't avoid noticing that the first day of kindergarten sure puts an emotional grip on us moms.
It's like we're sending them off to boot camp and won't be tucking them into their bed for weeks on end. We get that lump in our stomach, which is actually telling us that they're growing up. Because, we know after the baby stage it's the kindergarten stage, the middle school stage and then the high school stage. Then it's nearly 16 years later and.....well, it's just hard to imagine so you get all teary-eyed.
Not a moment before the uncontrolled weeping begins, the bus arrives and the kids scurry over to the bus to start their new adventure. As the kids start boarding the bus, my son suddenly understands that his older sister is leaving to get on the bus....without him!!
This is when all Hell Breaks Loose!
My son screams out in a full blown tirade. His expressive wailing with legs flinging and kicking from my waist and his arms stretched out to his sister crying out to let him go too.
In my attempt to tame a wildebeest, I realized I didn't have the chance to wave goodbye to my daughter. It seemed I didn't even have the chance to get sentimental with seeing her little face pressed up against the bus window.
I did, however, notice that the other kindergartner mom that I had just met, was standing off to the side sobbing as she mustered a goodbye wave to her daughter.
Still confused by my son's emotions and my own, I went over to console this mom. It didn't take long to make a connection with her and soon we were laughing about the whole chaotic scene.
Shortly after, the school bus had rolled on and the climatic upheaval was left behind. Eventually, it had calmed to a low roar so we could all collect our thoughts.
Of course, we did what any moms of kindergartners would do after a gut wrenching, tear laden first day of school. We gave each other a hug and suggested we should get together for a beer sometime.
And, that we did!
It's now nearly 16 years later and that mom and I are still friends after a day I call, "the kindergarten corner of tears!" Of course, we still get together on occasion for a few beers to talk and support each other about life.
Our daughters will soon be going on 21 and starting their junior year in college. Yes, they grow up fast!
Remembering how we felt at the bus stop on that first of many first days of school has brought us through all those stages of their young lives to the point we are now. These girls are now young adult women and probably making their own memorable lifelong friendships.
How wonderful it is to look back and see how far we've all come in life and the many changes we've faced along the way. I'm not sure if our kids remember that day, but us mom's need to stick together. Who knows what will be on the next corner of life. We just may need a friend and a cold beer!
Not to be forgotten, just a follow-up on my
wildebeest son. He did eventually have his turn getting on the bus for the
first day of kindergarten too. In fact, next year he'll be a high school
Coincidentally, that same mom friend has a younger daughter the same age as my son - they'll both be graduating next year.
With that in mind, I predict someone will be joining me on the “crying corner” as the last kid eventually leaves home and, through the tears, we'll muster up a wave goodbye.
Yup, they grow up fast, but there's always the lifelong friendship to stay connected and share a beer with.
Have you ever met a new friend from an emotional situation?
Put your smile on and unwrap
A Square of Chocolate,