Everyone is back to school now, including my youngest who started kindergarten this year. Of course, I was excited about it, but because she’s my third and she’s been in preschool for two years, I didn’t really think much about dropping her off other than to think that she would be happy to FINALLY be one of the big girls. With my first two kids there had never been tears (from them); they were just happy to grow up a little bit more so be honest I thought it would be the same with this one.
The first couple of days of gradual entry went well and were uneventful, so you can imagine my surprise when she started to cry and didn’t want to let go of me on her 4th day. Having never found myself in that position but counselled others on how to handle separations with littles, I tried my hardest to follow my own advice. I told her I loved her and that I was excited to hear about her day, reminded her that she would have friends to play with and a teacher that would help her and that I’d be there to pick her up the second she was done. I kissed her hand and told her if she needed me, she just had to press that hand to her face and imagine me hugging her and I’d be right there with her. I smiled and pried her hand away from my mine and sent her, bravely crying, into the school with her new class. Before she was even inside, I looked up and took a big breath, willing myself to hold it together, and another mom made eye contact with me and said ‘good job mama.’
I didn’t even know how much I needed to hear those words. She probably doesn’t know what a difference she made that day. But it reminded me of two things that I’ve now been thinking about daily. First, I am a good parent. I am not perfect; I don’t always say and do the right thing and my kids don’t always like me, but I am a good parent. Second, I should remind others more often that they are good parents, because no matter how we look on the outside, we all need to hear it. Too many things make us feel otherwise, and we often don’t share these feelings with others. In our society we have become masters at hiding our true feelings from others, and goodness knows we don’t want others to know what our parenting insecurities are. But I know you’re doing your best; I see you. I will make an effort to tell you the next time I see you, and hopefully this is a good reminder for you to do the same for someone else today.