Next week, my oldest daughter will begin Kindergarten. She is ecstatic about going to school, riding the bus, and showing off her brand new Ariel backpack. We went shopping for school supplies weeks ago when the list came in the mail. I’ve bought labels for all of her clothes, signed her up for all of her extracurricular activities, and attended the parent prep meeting. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be. Yet the other night, I woke up in a sheer panic. I went through my mental checklist but it didn’t offer much relief. The nagging feeling continued and I realized I had the same roller coaster of emotions once before: right when I was slated to return to work after my maternity leave.
You’d think I’d be fine considering my daughter has been in day care practically since birth. She’s made friends with some of her classmates, she’s very adaptable, and has no separation issues. She knows all of her colors, can count to an infinite number, and do basic math and reading. And while I’m so proud of her, the realization has set in that she’s leaving me. I know she’s not off to college, but this marks the beginning of her independence. And while she may be ready, I am not. Because my daughter isn’t the only one who’s going to school—I have a ton to learn as well. There are school policies, rules about snacks (only 3 food groups are allowed, no dips, fruit cups need to be drained, etc.) and coordination between before care, after care, and her enrichment program. And did I mention her introduction packet came with detailed instructions and a diagram outlining how to do drop off and pick up? I doubt I’ll ever need to use it because I’m not driving her during normal school hours, but just the fact that it’s there adds to my anxiety.
The good news is I’ve always been a quick study, though time will tell if that trait has stuck. So next week, it’s off to school… for the both of us. Wish me luck.