Why I Won't Cry When My Child Starts Kindergarten

In a few weeks I’ll hand over the keys to my most valuable commodity: my child.

She’ll march into Kindergarten, without me.

She’ll eat lunch, laugh, sing, read stories, and start creating her own.

Without me.

She’ll probably never seem so small and incapable than the day I drop her off.

Is she ready? Did we do enough? Will the wrong people break her incredible spirit?

I don’t know. Because she’ll be doing it without me.

A lot of what we’re about to experience is the unknown. The start of school is a beginning, and beginnings are usually scary until we find our footing. It’s frightening to think of a five-year-old wandering halls and tackling life on their own. I have first day jitters just thinking about it.

But when it comes time to part ways, there will be no tears.

And here’s why.

I won’t cry because my fear is my own. The world hasn’t gotten to her yet. Children are lucky to have youth, and invincibility, and optimism on their side. She’s excited about this next step, and I would be doing my child a great disservice to disrupt that wonderment with my own worry.

So I will stuff all of my apprehension down deep, because my anxieties aren’t allowed to be hers. Of course she will bruise as the road bends, but the best I can do is be there to bandaid her hurt and send her back out. No one gets through a broken world unbroken, even our precious children will feel pain. But we must remember: resilience isn’t built in a bubble.

She will learn to be brave, and so will I.

Tinkles Her Pants

The truth is, neither of us are truly ready for this change, but it’s impossible to cry about it because we never will be. There will never be a day when I feel like I’ve taught her enough. Not at age five, or sixty-five. My child will always need something from me. I am her mother, after all. The keeper of her history, her most trusted witness. Have I done everything I can to prepare her? No. Never.

But the world will teach her too.

And so will the people she’s about to encounter.

I won’t cry because her classroom is filled with children who will become her friends and foes. She won’t learn compassion and inclusion if she’s only introduced to our beliefs. If I want my child to have a wider world view—if I want her to be a giver and receiver of kindness—she must break bread with many.

And manning this ship of acceptance will be a fearless leader. A teacher who has given up time with her own children, her own family, to foster mine. I can’t shed tears when I know she’s with someone so sacrificial and serving. Maybe this is a heavy order to place on a complete stranger—asking them to raise my child as much as I do—but I have to believe we were put together for a reason.

The halls may be wide, but she’s fortunate to walk them.

They’re lined with guardian angels.

Tinkles Her Pants

You see, I can’t cry at my daughter starting Kindergarten because it just means she’s growing and gaining. And isn’t that what we want for our children? To watch them progress? To make it to that next milestone?

So we can’t worry about them moving forward. Of course it’s bittersweet to count how many Christmases we have left with them in the home, but if we’ve done things even remotely right, we’ll let them go and they’ll still willingly return.

I just want to live long enough to see my baby change the world, and she can’t get there if I keep her in the cradle.

Kindergarten may seem like a step without me, but that’s never been true.

I am built into her bones.

I will be with her on the first day, as she will be with me on my last.

Children are never alone with a mother’s love.

And there’s no reason to cry about that.