No matter what stage you are at, saying goodbye to your child for the first day of school can be really tough. At least that was what I had always heard. I knew of moms who bawled after loading their little one onto the school bus for the start of kindergarten, whether it was number one or number six! I couldn't relate! I just about did a jig in my driveway each time our older boys headed down the block to walk to the elementary school that was around the corner.
We had moved by the time our youngest son went to kindergarten and got to ride a school bus. That day was bittersweet as well, but I can honestly say I never cried. I know, you think I'm heartless! But truly, I couldn't wait for those days. I was so excited for each of my guys to enter kindergarten (or pre-K). It was wonderful and encouraging to know that they were ready and pumped as well, and I knew they needed the challenge of a classroom and all the new things they would be learning.
As hard as it was to get my oldest off for his first day of school, all shiny clean, wearing new clothes and a brand new backpack, with his hair parted and slicked down just so...(I wanted to be sure that everything was perfect!) it was exhilarating to know that I only had one other little brother to contend with for four hours (it was half day kindergarten back then!). To have only one when there had been two, was an unimaginable, freeing concept. I felt light as a feather. Our second son, Mark, was only three when Scott started school, and after dealing with two rambunctious boys everywhere I went, one during those morning hours felt like an instantaneous reprieve.
Fast forward thirteen years later...letting our oldest go off to college was an entirely different story, since college was the Air Force Academy and he was headed into basic training. That day I did cry~ in dread of the physical, emotional and psychological duress he would be under for the next twelve weeks.
Then we left our middle son off at college and finally six years later, our youngest! One after another, our three sons left our home and nest and went off to discover their passions and interests in the academic world leading to lives beyond our four walls. When our middle son found his sweet spot in music education, we were thrilled to see him thrive in a new arena. We just recently left our youngest off for his senior year in college, majoring in music composition. When he's done with school, we're anticipating a whopping promotion, as we'll be gratefully done with paying college tuitions after eight years!
Each headed off to start a new season in their lives and we had to adjust to each departure and a new status quo at our homestead. Often friends have asked how we are doing with the empty nest. Initially, it was hard and the house seemed extremely quiet. However, it is a new normal that we are finding exciting. Like the season of sending our oldest off to kindergarten, we feel on the brink of fresh freedom that will allow us to enjoy endless opportunities to travel and unexpected time for nurturing treasured relationships . It's not all bad!
So shed a tear if you must...but look beyond that first day or first week to the expanding, challenging opportunities ahead. Make time for yourself and relax a little more than you've been able to during the ever-demanding days of motherhood. You'll get used to it fairly quickly, especially if it's your youngest finally going off to school! Then you will look back and wonder how you survived and where the time went!