First Day of Kindergarten (for Mom)

Today is January 29th. It’s 10:00 am and I’m heading for a tour of the elementary school my son will start in September. Like many type A parents, I’ve been preparing for this like I’m getting ready for a deposition.


Who holds mommy's hand on the first day of school? Tips on how to manage when when your child goes off to school.

I park and walk. It’s raining and I’m almost there before I glance up and see a “weapons free” sign on the school building. We don’t have one of those outside our house.


My heart starts to race and I realize… Things aren’t just going to change for my boy. They’re about to change for me, too. I’m not sure I’m ready.


Who holds mommy's hand on the first day of school? Tips on how to manage when when your child goes off to school.


I go through huge doors, walk up some steps toward two smiling women and then… burst into tears.


The smiling women are now worried. Are you ok?, one asks. I lie and silently will my heart to go back down from my throat and for the red to go out of my face.


The other woman looks at me. Her eyes tell me she knows. She knows what I’m thinking…


What if he’s shot by some lunatic with a gun?

What if his friends are mean to him?

What if he doesn’t have any friends?

What if he is bullied? He fails?

Doesn’t know the answer to the question?

Can’t figure out his homework?


I head into the meeting room and take a seat at one of the tables. The chairs are child size and I arrange myself as best as possible wishing I didn’t eat two extra muffins after dinner last night.


We listen to overviews from the PTA and teachers and then are herded in small groups to start the tour. We see lockers and music rooms and the library. We ask all the right questions…


How much recess? Is there art? Student/teacher ratios? Discipline policy?


We learn that no, there’s no guarantee you’ll get into the programs you want. No, you can’t pick your child’s teacher. No guarantees.


Who holds mommy's hand on the first day of school? Tips on how to manage when when your child goes off to school.


We nod and take notes like med school students on rounds. But I’m not really listening anymore. My heart is flooded and what I’m really asking in my head is…


What if you’re lying and the teachers aren’t nice?

What if someone shoves him in one of those lockers?

What if something bad happens to him and I’m not there?

Who will comfort him when the tears come?

Who will cheer him on when tries?

Who will really love him like I do when it all goes wrong?

Who will really take care of him? Who???????!!


The answer comes from a small voice in my heart. “I will.” It’s the reassuring voice of my Father, God. He reminds me:


“Blessed is he who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It doesn’t fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8


God never promised we’d always be happy and nothing bad would ever happen to us. This world is fallen. The heat comes. The drought comes. But He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31: 6-8) and will continue to work for good through us, his children.


I remember. My boy is not my own. He’s God’s. A gift on loan to me for the humbling, awesome privilege of taking care of him for a time. And oh, how that time flies!


What those people are always telling you? It’s true. The long days with small children might drag on forever, but the years go fast.


One minute you’re changing diapers, agonizing over sleep schedules, and over-engineering toilet training. The next you’re parking your car at the Kindergarten open house.


Nothing really prepares a mother for the first step in letting go of her child.


It’s the first of many small steps that lead your child down a road away from you. I ask God to help me let go.


Then I snap out of my daze and realize my group is gone. I’m left standing by myself next to this really big picture of the gym teacher.



It makes me laugh. My heart is lighter. It’s going to be ok. Not because nothing will go wrong.  Things will go wrong and there are no guarantees.


But there is a good God. And God loves my boy. He won’t be alone.


(Please help me remember this when I drop him off on his first day of Kindergarten.)


What about you? Am I the only one already experiencing empty nest syndrome with a 5 year old?



4 Responses to 'First Day of Kindergarten (for Mom)'

  1. Amy Letinsky says:

    I’m looking at the upcoming first day of preschool and need to file this away to read on that day. Loved this! Keep up the great posts!

  2. Rita says:

    My daughter’s first week of kindergarten was terrifying for me. She was so happy. You have to understand that my daughter has a very serious nature so deliriously happy is not an emotion we see often in her. Her happiness sent me into a tail spin of doubt.. had I been giving her enough stimulation? Maybe she was happy because someone other than mom was fulfilling her needs. Then there came the wave of recognition that my influence on her was going to diminish. Had I instilled everything she would need to manage the social/emotional territory of school. Then a few days later I calmed down and remembered that I could cover her in prayer. That God would take care of her. My job was giving her a safe place to land when she did come home. To celebrate her joy, and enter into her joy with her. Thanks for reminding me that they are God’s children before they were mine.

  3. nicole says:

    Thank you for this. I am having an extremly difficult time with my daughter starting kindergarten. I am a stay @ home mother of 2. I have major trust issues due to my past and I fear that she may go through what I did as a kid. I also worry all of the other questions you really wanted to ask…who will love & protect her the way I would??? I have being seeing a life coach recently to help me & I’ve been trying to really trust that God will be with her. I’m really trying hard to have faith in god but with her first day tomrrow I’m beside myself. I decided to look for a kindergarten prayer and found this…I at least don’t feel so alone now. Thanks

    • Teresa Simon says:

      Nicole! I’m not sure what day Kindergarten starts for you, but I’ve been praying for you and your family, just haven’t been able to respond until now. I dropped my boy off this morning and cried. Mostly tears of joy but also sad to see him take the first of so many steps away from me. Please let me know how you are if you have a minute. Love, Teresa

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