Why I Also Celebrate the First Day of School

My unknownlast two posts were about how difficult dropping off at pre-school and college (and everything in between) can be. Today I sat to write about the somewhat well known mom ritual of celebrating, amongst ourselves, the day the kids go back to school.

For my family, summers are meant to be relaxing. Students and teachers are “off.”   Summers are laid back. No school schedules. All after-school activities are on hiatus. In my house, summer means sleeping late and staying up late – for adults and kids. It means dinners aren’t often planned until the last minute and leftover macaroni and cheese is an acceptable breakfast. It means we are almost always available for impromptu get-togethers and parties. It means everyday can be pajama day. It all sounds pretty good, no? Well, hang on a second. This can also translate into a boredom disaster. We are used to a constant buzz of activity in my house. We run from school to dance or karate or soccer. My six year old will often say, “Where are we going now?” as she jumps in the car, as she’s just used to being in the car often. The lack of routine in the summer can be too long. The truth is, I had looked forward to the down time of summer. I was ready for school to be over in June. I was ready for “laid back and chill.” And so were my daughters. Kids need that break as much as we do.   We had no family vacations planned. Lily didn’t want to go to camp and I didn’t want to get up early to take her so I didn’t fight her on it. Sam is sixteen, so she had plans of her own. The result of all of this purposeful lack of planning was a gloriously relaxing July. My cousin was in town from Florida. I was able to plan lots of family and grown up time for us. It was beautiful. Then August hit. Boredom set in. Lily was in need of stimulation and she made that painfully obvious. I arranged play dates with friends and special shopping excursions. Her sisters even took her out “Pokemon-ing.”   And while it was still very difficult for me to leave my oldest at college for her junior year, I am now I’m ready for the hustle and bustle of the new school year. Continue reading

For My First Baby

As we drive off to your junior year at college…..

Allie,

As I sat down to write this post, I thought I would be writing about how dropping your daughter off at college, even for the third year in a row, is just as gut-wrenching as the first day of pre-school drop off. And it most certainly is. I’m feeling as broken hearted now as I did that first day I dropped you off at pre-school – and then also kindergarten and high school.

Then I started thinking… I’m a very sensitive woman, as you are. I feel things, good and bad, very deeply. Other people like us do exist. So I’m probably not totally off my rocker for feeling this way.   I know you know I’m proud of you, and not just of your noteworthy accomplishments (of which there are many). I’m proud of the woman that you have become. You are intelligent, caring, nurturing, considerate, empathetic, giving, courageous, humorous, kind, affectionate, forgiving, and brave. You are an inspiration to me in so many ways. The way you handle yourself, how humble you are, how you always hold your head high. You are the bravest woman I have ever known, without a doubt. You proved this to me, and the world, when you were only six years old. Continue reading

The First Day of School

My cousin is dScreen Shot 2016-08-23 at 8.12.16 AMropping her only child off at school today for the very first time.  I dedicate this post to her, and to moms everywhere who are bringing their little ones to school for the very first time xoxo.

 

Chris,

I know how nervous and overwhelmed with emotion you are right now.  Dropping your daughter off at school for the first time is a milestone – and a nightmare.

I could tell you that you’ll be upset but it won’t be that bad.  I could tell you the you won’t be thinking about her every minute of your day.  I could tell you that you won’t have the urge to call school, “just to check on her,” over a thousand times today.  But I’d be lying.

The first drop off is gut-wrenching.  It feels like your heart is being ripped out of your chest.  You will doubt every decision you have made – from the choice of the school all the way down to her first day outfit.  You will doubt yourself as a mother, asking yourself these questions, and many more, repeatedly:

  • How could I just hand my daughter off to TOTAL STRANGERS?
  • What if she gets hurt? Will they know how to calm her down?
  • What if she has to go the bathroom but is afraid to talk to the teacher and has an accident?
  • What if there’s an asshole bully in her class and he/she hurts her?

I wish I could take all these fears and anxieties away from you.  I’ve lived this scenarios three times over.  And the bottom line is this: IT’S HARD.  But hard is not bad, it’s just, well, hard.  There’s no away around it, only through it.  You’re experiencing another “rite of passage.” This is another step on your motherhood journey, a journey that you and Emma will walk together.  You will guide her on this journey.  But, sometimes, she will guide you.  She will help you discover strengths you didn’t know you had.  You will feel a love so deep that you think it’s the most it could ever be – and then it will grow even deeper.  She will teach you more about life than you can even fathom at this moment.

So the best advice I can pass on to you is to allow yourself to feel a sense of gratification today.  You grew this life in your body.  You taught her how to eat food with utensils, how to “go potty,” how to say please and thank you, and I know you taught her how to stand up for herself (old school Brooklyn style). YOU gave her all the skills she will need to succeed in school.  Be proud of the job you’ve done!

There will be tears, hers and yours.  But you will make it through.  I wish I could be there with you, to offer more support than this simple letter.  Just know that if I could be there, I’d be walking behind you with a box of tissues – and a big pitcher of sangria. 🙂

You will ROCK the first day drop off.  I know it.

Love you to the moon and back.

Love,
Anj