My Baby Started Kindergarten Today

My baby started kindergarten today.
My baby — the last of the three, the third third, the final one.
I have big plans.
In five minutes, I’ll stop by Starbucks and order a celebratory smoothie — in gratitude for my three wonderful children and in recognition of all the hard work it’s taken to get them here.
All ready for kindergarten!

Ten minutes later, I’ll get home and just S-L-O-W-L-Y breathe in the silence.

For the next half an hour, I’ll clean up. And then I’ll walk through those rooms once again, marveling that they are, in fact, still tidy.
At 8:30, I’ll sit down at my computer and start some work, eventually glancing at the clock and thinking, “I should probably get to the grocery store.”
I won’t go. I’ll continue working.
At about 10:15, I’ll decide that I really, actually, ought to go grocery shopping. And so I will — perusing the shelves with great curiosity as I meander through the store.
By 11:15, I’ll be at home putting away my purchases, not waiting outside for the 4K school bus.
Ten minutes later, I won’t glance out the window to see if the bus has arrived.
I’ll make lunch. Then eat it.
At 12:15 … I don’t know. Post-lunch nap?
Then it’ll almost be time for my kids to come home.
On a typical day, they’ll return at about 3:15.
But the first day of school means early release. So at about 1, I’ll prepare for their arrival.
At 1:30, I’ll meet the bus, and I’ll be smiling.
Five years, gone in a flash.

“How was your day?” I’ll ask all three, genuinely curious. (“Fine,” my fourth-grader will say; my second-grader will smile and shrug, “I dunno.”)

My kindergartner, though. She’ll have stories to tell.
I’ll listen attentively and ask all the questions: Did you like your teacher? Who sits next to you at your table? What did you do for recess? Did you get to see your brother and sister at school?
I’ll get my kids a snack. They’ll ask to watch TV. I’ll send them outside to play instead.
And then I’ll pause for a moment to congratulate myself on a job well done.
Yep, it’s going to be a great day. I believe that, fully, in my heart.
I have big plans.
But for the next five minutes I’m just going to cry.
Because my baby started kindergarten today.
Kirsten is a native Wisconsinite who married a Brit, moved to England and happily ended up in Madison in 2010. She and her husband, Adrian, are parents to Sophie, Charlie and Susannah, who fascinate and exhaust their parents pretty much every day. A former newspaper reporter, Kirsten now supports mompreneurs through her website, motherbility.com. She's also a mini-expert on traveling with kids. (Always answer "Should we go to ... " with "yes." Bring toys, snacks and an excess of patience.) She and her family camp every summer, usually in state parks, because they love outdoor living. And s'mores.

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