This is not the blog I was planning on posting today, but this is what happened today, and I couldn’t let it just pass by. It’s not my normal type of post and if you don’t have kids, you may not get it, but it’s my real life. And while the worlds we create in our minds can be beautiful and healing and strong, sometimes real life needs to be remembered more.
Today I sent my twins to their first day of kindergarten, and as they lined up with their brand new classmates, I cried.
You should know something about me. I don’t cry. I didn’t cry when the twins got vaccinations. I didn’t cry when I left them with a babysitter. I didn’t cry when they first spent the night at their Nana’s without me, or when they were sick with fevers, or when they got their first scraped knee. Because I don’t cry.
So you can imagine my surprise as I stood there with all the other parents watching my two babies and my eyes began to fill with water. What was happening to me? I don’t cry! Despite the fact that I’ve been told everyone cries when their kids go to kindergarten, it didn’t even occur to me that I would. (By the way, I didn’t see any other parents trying not to lose it.)
Maybe it’s because all of us went to bed too late last night. Maybe it was because all the other parents had known you need to be there ten minutes early, and I had only been five minutes early. My kids were the last to arrive. They were at the back of the line. It is my fault they started the first day of the next thirteen years of their lives trying to catch up to everyone else. Maybe it’s because, inexplicably half the parents already seem to know each other, but I don’t know a soul. Does that bode well for the friendships that will be formed, starting today?
Maybe it’s because the other kids laughed and cheered as the teacher enthusiastically welcomed them to the first day of school, but mine stood still, with their hands in their mouths, looking absolutely terrified. How I want to protect them. How I want to wrap my arms around them and never let go. I don’t want them to be scared. I am their mother, and I know, like no one else does, how incredibly hard standing in that line is. I can feel it in my chest.
And maybe I cried, because as the line of kids disappeared into the classroom, and the excited kids pushed forward, bumping my son out of the way, the teachers that were handing out pencils and stickers noticed him standing off to the side and didn’t forget to give him a pencil too.