Heartstrings and Backpacks:  A Mother's Emotional Rollercoaster on Her Child's First Day of School

Heartstrings and Backpacks: A Mother's Emotional Rollercoaster on Her Child's First Day of School

Zen A

I remember it was 26th August, 2019 and a Monday. Not a fun morning as I couldn’t sleep the whole night with the most numerous tosses and turns on bed worrying about the morning ahead. My heart was possibly thumping faster than usual. Finally, it was the day our first born 3 year old little girl’s first day of school. That means she’s going away from us for a good 5 hrs a day. That being said, my girl seemed happy and excited. I remember her wearing a pink polka dot dress written “Hoo’s ready for Preschool, I am”. I picked that up a few weeks ago because I wanted her to look the best and make her first day of school look special. 

We waited for her yellow school bus to come and sang “Wheels on bus go round and round” and my girl was still smiling and happy. My husband was taking videos holding our 4 month old son in his arms and making memories. It was a family event, I’ll put it that way. The bus arrived a few minutes ahead of time and that was the time I felt numbness and blurry eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t speak a word and made my child sit in the bus. I kissed her goodbye and that was it. I was too weak to look back and monitor her reaction. And she left. 

I ran in the house and tried to hold myself together. Picked my box of tissues, but I didn’t need them yet. My husband came in after a while and walked up to me and patted my right shoulder, that’s when I lost it. I burst into tears. I hadn’t felt this sad ever. My thoughts were, “Will she be safe? Is she in good hands? Does she know how to stick up for herself? Will she feel happy and protected ? Will she even MISS me?”. With all that happening, I cried some more and then some more after I walked in her empty room. It kept going for a few hours till it was time for her to come home. I went outside way ahead of time to wait for her bus to come. I wanted to see my baby! Finally after what seemed like an eternity she came out, and I saw her smile. And I cried again. She was ok. She was happy. I was happy.

I know each day will get easier, and each milestone will come faster. But I wasn't fully prepared for this kind of separation, I know it's extremely childish and selfish, but I didn't want to share this amazing little girl with anyone. But after I saw a happy and wide smiling face waving and calling “Mama” coming out of the bus and learning how much she loved school, I felt proud and half my anxiety seemed to stabilize. That's what makes parenting so challenging; caring for them, nurturing them, but then loving and trusting them enough to let them go, grow and learn.

Good luck to all the parents who have children starting school. Grab some tissues, take lots of pictures and be ready to make memories!