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Don't Be Afraid of the First Day of Kindergarten

A mom on what she's learned about this important step

Akilah Harper

Published on: August 31, 2018

Happy boy in kindergarten

The first day of kindergarten for my twins was what you’d expect: a lot of tears, scary thoughts and anxiety around dropping my first-borns off with a bunch of strangers whom we’d just met the week before.  

I was scared they wouldn’t make friends. I was terrified kids would be mean to them. I even wondered if dropping them off and driving away signified that I wasn’t fit to raise a ferret, let alone two actual people.

I spent 30 minutes sobbing as I drove down the highway, imagining all the terrible things that could happen. I was officially convinced that kindergarten was a terrible place and that I was the worse mother in the world.

Five years later and those adorable kindergarteners have turned into amazing fifth-graders and we’ve had quite a few first days of school. But this year was a little different. Joining our back-to-school trio was their bright-eyed little brother.

For his first day of school, I prepared myself for that same emotional roller coaster of five years before. As we entered his kindergarten class, I fully expected one of us to burst into tears.

My heart broke a little for the baby who’d left but I felt something I hadn’t five years ago: excitement.

Instead, my son looked at me and then walked confidently into the room. And me? My heart broke a little for the baby who’d left but I felt something I hadn’t five years ago: excitement.

Instead of worrying he’d never make friends or that I was the worse mom ever, I thought of all that was ahead of him: the science projects, the history lessons, the budding love for math that will (hopefully) stay with him forever, the lifelong friendships that’ll last just as long.

I hadn’t realized that five years ago. Instead, I saw kindergarten as an unimaginable place. I equated it to leaving my kids at the park and coming back that afternoon and hoping they were still there. But now I know what kindergarten really is: an entirely new world with endless possibilities.

This wasn’t the end. It was merely a new beginning that gave us both the chance to grow.

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