Six years ago, while pregnant with my oldest child, my husband and I made the decision that I would quit my job to stay home with our son after he was born. For most of my life, I always pictured myself being a stay-at-home mom. I had this semi-glamourous idea of what life would be like staying at home every day. I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that my day wouldn’t be all I wanted it to be – after all, there would be a baby in my care, but I certainly didn’t expect that baby to require so MUCH care. 24/7 care. It was, in fact, a job – at home. I didn’t get to leave the office at 5:00, not thinking about my work until the next morning. In fact, my job never stopped that first year. Between breastfeeding and a less than stellar sleeper… well, let’s just say vacation days weren’t even a thought. In the midst of all of it, I often thought “one day, he will be in school, and my work hours will drastically drop”. Of course, I wasn’t even thinking of the two other children that would come after him. All I thought was “these five years will fly, just put your head down and get through them” and “you WILL miss this”. 

Well, here we are. My oldest is about to start Kindergarten and I. AM. NOT. OKAY. We’ve had two years of “practice” attending preschool. That practice only involved two or three mornings a week. It wasn’t all day, 5 days a week. So as we are mere weeks away from my first REAL school drop-off, I’m realizing I am, in fact, not ready for this. Every day that goes by, reality sets in that these five years are drawing to a close. My “vacation days” are upon me – again, not really… there are two other children here! Five years did in fact fly by, and I am definitely going to miss being with my son 24/7. I know millions of mothers have gone through this, but it’s my first time, so… I have ALL the worries. 

Most of my little worries revolve around the new things – like Catholic school uniform policies and fundraising and the 40 volunteer hours. Or if we have submitted all the proper paperwork. Or if he should carry his lunchbox in or outside of his backpack. Or how the drop-off line works. Or who his teacher is. Or getting the right school supplies. Or all of those other things that come with the beginning of the school year. 

My BIG worry is that my son will change. He hasn’t been around other kids at this length. He’s never been “influenced” by other kids, and his “innocence” is a big deal to us. I have prayed time and time again for his classmates and for him to find the “good ones”. I pray all the things we’ve taught him about respect and kindness will stay at the front of his mind. I pray he listens and does his best. I pray he has fun and enjoys learning. I pray he’s not bullied. I pray he stays true to himself. I pray he never feels ashamed for who he is. I pray he’s surrounded with people who love him for who he is. I pray he remembers he can tell us anything. I pray he is safe. I pray he is brave. I pray he always tells me every single detail of his day. I pray he still thinks I’m funny. I pray he always wants a big hug and kiss at night. (And yes, I am absolutely tearing up while writing this).

I know I’m not unique when it comes to mothers being worried in the weeks leading up to Kindergarten. I know that no one will care for my son as I care for him – I mean, obviously. But simply knowing that doesn’t negate the fact that it’s hard to trust anyone else who may or not be caring for him. I have full trust in teachers to do their jobs, but wow is it difficult to know I won’t be there to comfort him if he’s sad, hurt, or just needing a middle-of-the-day word of encouragement or hug. It’s also difficult knowing I won’t be there to watch him have fun and succeed and make friends and thrive. Because I truly believe he will LOVE school.

Despite all these worries – big and small – I know God has my son in His care. I believe God will protect him and guide him. There will be difficult moments I am sure, but I know God will help him (and me) through those times. I know that there’s not much more I can do except soak up these last few weeks, trust we’ve prepared him well, pray for him, and do my best to wait to cry until I’m driving away from dropping him off on the first day of school. I feel so blessed to have spent nearly every day, all day of his life with him. I’m going to miss him like crazy from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm. But like all things, it will become normal… and then another transition will come faster than I want it to. Despite our wishes, our kids WILL grow up. But our “job” as a mother will never stop. 

So for all the moms dreading the first day of school, in case you feel alone, you’re not. Come August 24th, I will be an absolute mess. Because not only is it my oldest’s first day of Kindergarten, but it’s also my middle child’s first day of preschool. Pray for my “momma heart” that day… and for my husband who has the ultimate task of attempting to comfort me!