by Jennifer Newell
One word can have so many emotions wrapped up in it- kindergarten. This past summer as we inched closer to our kindergarten deadline I seemed to struggle with anxiety, fear and a bit of sadness. What I learned was I had more to be excited about than what I feared.
My daughter Maggie is such a joy. She is so loving, sweet & kind. Another aspect of her personality is shyness. It’s not something I like to talk about and it’s definitely not something that I can personally relate to. When I think about putting her in a new classroom or group of children, my heart starts to race for her. I see how she gets nervous and I also often watch her cry when I leave her. I hate this. It breaks my heart to watch something that is fun for most children be painful or difficult for Maggie. As a parent I want to help her conquer her fears and I know in order to do that, I can’t always stay with her. Preparing for the transition to all-day school was something that worried me all summer long.
I also had some fears (worriers usually do!) : Who would her teacher be? Would she have a friend to sit by at lunch? Would she talk to anyone on the playground? Would her speech issues keep her from doing well at her studies? Would she be tired being at school all day? My list could go on and on. As my list got longer and longer, I realized that none of these things were things that were in my control. I would have to trust that she would be put in a wonderful classroom with a loving teach that would help her learn how to ‘do’ kindergarten.
Of course, I also I felt sadness when it came to sending Maggie to kindergarten. Even though she’s gone to preschool and camps, she really hasn’t been away from us all day since she was born. I enjoy spending time with both of my children, so the thought of not seeing Maggie until 3 o’clock made me a little sad. I also recognize that our time with our children in our home will only speed by faster and faster.
Finally, I had a realization. I can and will stay focused on how we have been successful in preparing our daughter for what is to come. I can stay focused on knowing that she knows she is loved and we are there for her no matter what. And finally, I will stay focused on how blessed we are to have and know Maggie as our daughter. She teaches us every day, more and more about ourselves.
We started school last week and I haven’t felt my heart beat so fast since my wedding day. As we were approaching the school I kept telling myself that everything was going to be alright. When we dropped Maggie off in her classroom, her amazing teacher greeted us at the door and Maggie willingly went in. I kissed her on the head and quickly left. I cried, just like I knew I would. It wasn’t because I was worried or scared. It was because I’m proud- I’m proud of her for being ready to go and proud of us for being able to let her go. It was simply….a milestone moment. A point in time to reflect on all that is good and right about our daughter.
A Savoy resident and mom of two, Jennifer Newell is the owner of chambanamoms.com partner Bella Bambini, which recently started to sell its wares at Art Mart Toys in Urbana. Newell also blogs on the Bella Bambini website.