The first day of kindergarten has arrived. Most would think that this day is filled with excitement from their eager, confident, social five-year old, but instead it was filled with sadness and anxiety.
My son was his typical self this morning, but as soon as I said, “It’s time to get ready for your first day of school” his attitude changed.
Nothing seemed to go right for him. He didn’t like the button down shirt, his shorts were too big and one sock was tighter than the other.
His brother seemed to be in his way and the fighting began.
My husband started to question, “What is wrong with him?” and I reminded him of how Gavin was on his last day of Pre-K.
It was a flashback to the sad, anxious five-year old that understood that everything was about to change. His friends would be heading off to different schools and he would be alone in kindergarten.
He masked those vulnerable feelings with anger and bitterness, fighting me on everything.
Well, the same thing happened this morning.
I took a deep breath and began to normalize it all for him.
“It’s okay to feel nervous and scared.”
“If you miss us, remember the story of Chester the Raccoon. We are always with you.”
My instincts were right. The flood of tears came and he tried to deny these real emotions, by shaking his head and swatting at me.
It’s hard for kids to accept these raw, vulnerable feelings when they are always praised as to how confident they are.
Within a few minutes, he began to change.
When he saw his neighborhood friends walking to school, the silly little boy threw on his back pack and stood on the corner waiting for them to acknowledge this very special day for him.
We took the traditional first day of school photos and headed down the street to his new school.
When he saw a familiar face from his baseball team, the bright-eyed, eager, confident, social butterfly began to come out.
Then the real emotions began to settle in with his parents. I looked over and saw my husband holding back tears. We were sad that our little man was growing up so quickly.
We will continue our journey of parenthood into the transition of a school-aged child. I’m sure we aren’t the only family going through the waves of emotions.
Who else can relate?