The day I have been dreading for five years arrived on Tuesday:  Kindergarten.  My “baby” isn’t such a “baby” anymore. With each passing day she needs me less and less. “I can do that mommy”, “I don’t need any help”, or my favorite, “Mother, I can do my own hair” (remember, she’s FIVE!) She’s her own person now with (strong) opinions and views. The things she notices or comments on continually surprise me. So while I know it’s time for her to go and continue on her independent journey, I’m not ready. But let’s be honest, no matter what her age I wouldn’t be ready.

I think I handled the first day better than initially thought. So I take some comfort in that. Although it was an insane morning ensuring each lunchbox was packed to its owner’s specifications, breakfast eaten, vitamins, teeth brushed, etc. Not to mention the “first day of Kindergarten” pictures. In hindsight I guess we were so busy I didn’t get the chance to worry or be sad. But as things have calmed down a little and I have time to reflect I wonder if she’s ok. Is she hungry? Is she warm? Is she warming up/getting comfortable and making friends or is she miserable? Will the teacher know to ask if she’s doing ok or just think her being shy is the way she is? Will they check if she needs to go to the bathroom not aware she might be to shy to ask? (After this week the shyness will be replaced with confidence and determination to know the name of every teacher/student at school).

My kindergarten teacher friends are likely laughing at me – not in a “haha your kid is miserable and we enjoy that” kind of way, but more of “this happens every year, the first few days/week are hard and then they settle in and you know this” kind of way.  My head knows she’ll settle in and get into a routine and love every minute of it. She LOVES school and learning to do new things, finding different ways to look at the same problem or an easier way to do something hard (work smarter not harder mentality). However my heart screams, “She’s only 5! She should be outside playing, swimming, riding bikes, etc. instead of in a classroom all day. She doesn’t need this kind of responsibility! And homework? HOMEWORK! In Kindergarten!?! She’s FIVE people!”

Once my anxiety level returns to normal and logic once again outweighs emotion I remember that this is what I did. This is what my husband did and our siblings and parents, etc. This is how we grow and evolve and become the next generation of people that will do amazing things. Solve the mysteries of the universe; cure the worst diseases, make life better for others, etc. It all starts with that first day.

But on this “first” day, I just wish I had more time with my not so baby girl.