First Grade, The Real Tearjerker?
Maybe I’m the only one here but I feel more emotional over my daughter starting the first grade than I was about Kindergarten. It’s possible that I could simply be grieving the end of summer: the movie nights, the slow Friday mornings, the days spent in the sun with my littles creating little tan lines and memories. For some reason I just can’t seem to shake the feeling that the coming of this school year marks an unrecognized milestone. Kindergarten was such a big deal, first day of “big school,” first time riding the school bus, first time shopping for school supplies and lunch boxes. The first time she tried on her little uniform where I shed a few tears in Target at the sight of her little legs in a three button polo and a khaki skort. This year though, this is the end of “firsts.” She’s looking forward to shopping for school supplies because now she knows what to expect. She will probably be the one to guide me through the hallway to her new teacher’s classroom at orientation.
No one really makes a big deal out of first grade because kindergarten is the milestone – and that’s what I feel. The absence of the “big deal,” the casualness of going back to school … that she already knows what to expect and she’s such a big girl about it. It’s then when I really see the change that Kindergarten brought my little girl. She’s no longer going to have a little nap mat with her blanket and a stuffy for nap time. The idea of a midday nap is a distant memory for good. She will greet her bus driver and lunch ladies by name now, like a little person (as my grandfather always called it). This year she will take real quizzes and be graded with real grades. As Kindergarteners, the teachers see them as the “babies” of the school and now they are expected to know the rules, the routines, and the location of the water fountains.
It’s possible that I am just an emotional mama and that I will feel a specific sadness at every grade she is promoted to, but I truly do feel like this is the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
As I’m sure, all mommas out there are shaking their heads thinking, “4th grade (or 6th grade or 12th grade) already, where has the time gone?” But I am here to commemorate with all the incoming first grade mommas: this is emotional, my baby really is a little girl now … or maybe she will just always be a baby to me. Looking forward to a school year of new firsts, they may not be as “big” or as talked-about, but they will be to me and they will be to her as well. Let’s make a deal, Mommas. Let’s treat every new school year like the first day of Kindergarten. Let’s make our kids’ first day of school feel like the biggest deal ever, no matter what grade they’re entering, because if we’re being honest, all first days of school cause the first-day jitters. Maybe we assume that our 7th graders don’t want to hear how extraordinary we feel like their first day is but let’s do it anyway. Ask them all the questions, be present, be excited for them and pray that they know their worth, remember their potential and recognize that they were created for a special purpose.