September 28, 2018

It’s the most stressful 10 minutes of my year. Every year.

I’m standing watching my daughter in the school yard and there are hoards of kids running around reuniting after a summer apart.

It’s the first day of school and we’ve arrived the requisite 15 minutes before the bell rings. The big thing is finding out who her teacher will be.

I can feel the excitement, uncertainty, anticipation, dread—and the joy. Watching little faces approach teachers, I either see excitement, or instant disappointment if they realize they’re not with their friends this year.

There’s the child crying in her mother’s arms. The friends walking away from each other, maybe deciding they won’t hang out this year.

And it’s happening all at once. There are so many feelings mounting for all the kids—and parents.

I’m actually not sure why I’ve come. I feel like I’m standing on the outside looking in. But my daughter wanted me here, so I try to fight back the tears. But I’m no good at stuffing emotion (nor do I want to be), so the warm waters stream down behind my sunglasses.

I don’t know how not to cry on the first day of school.

It’s such a huge transition for us all. It marks the end of summer and beginning of the new year. There is hope and possibility along with the pangs of regret and disappointment. It’s everywhere I turn.

I’m not emotional because my kids are leaving me—it’s time for us all to get back to fall routines.

It’s being so close to that throng of energy that has me reeling.

I check in with my daughter to confirm she’s okay, and take off. Walking home I breathe, knowing the whole world just turned in 10 minutes.

And I won’t see that kind of turning again for another year.

I’d love to hear how you’ve managed back to school or any other transitions this fall, in the comments below.

Big love,



Tamika says

This is so beautiful. I love your soulful heart! xx


Carolyn Jyoti says

<3 Big love to you <3


Jayne says

Wow thank you for this Carolyn! I can completely relate. I was so confused with how I was feeling the first day of my daughter’s school. There were way too many intense emotions all at once. It’s a beautiful thing our emotions but geez that was a tricky day to just hang with them. Thank you for putting this out there and normalizing it. I felt like I was the only one feeling this way but likely most parents were.


Carolyn says

Hi Jayne,
It's so good to know you were feeling the same way too. There are so many parts to parenting that are challenging and managing all the emotions of our little ones, as well as our own, is a big one! Thanks so much for joining the conversation. xo


Wendy says

Thanks for sharing Carolyn!
I haven't run into these emotions for quite a few years, but this year I was able to be a part of walking with my two grandkids Logan and Aria to their first day of JK. I actually paused at home acknowledging with self that this was an emotional time for me as well, after having spent many days with the little's I've their first few years. I couldn't not be with them. I witnessed joy and sorrow among many moms, dads and other grandparents and I too, had tears and and knot in my stomach while I cuddled the two younger ones when my daughters and partners hugged and kissed Logan and Aria, for Thier first day..... Uuuug


Carolyn says

Wendy, it's such an emotional time and a huge transition for grandparents too! Your awareness is so amazing and those grandchildren (and your children) are so blessed to have you supporting them every step of the way! LOVE to you xo


Hasana says

So perfectly articulated. I’ve been both, a parent in the yard sending my kids off and an educator on the inside welcoming the kids back. I’d been doing it for 25 years but could never quite figure out why I couldn’t sleep the night before or woke up feeling slightly unsettled. I never really gave much thought to the throng of emotional engergy swirling all around me...


Carolyn says

Hasana, It's great to hear your perspective. That unsettled feeling says it all. I love how being around kids can teach us so much about ourselves. xo Carolyn


Helen Valks says

As usual, I can relate. I too always had to be there for that first day. Then first days were out of reach as my children moved to university. With each of them, I felt I was leaving a piece of my soul behind. I remember attending the outdoor mass on campus the week after our daughter started. I was grateful for my sunglasses as the tears streamed down behind them.
As parents, our role transitions. And with each transition comes the shedding to allow you to move forward to the next way of being.
Thank you for shating. Love always Helen Asha


Carolyn says

Asha, Thank YOU for sharing. Your wisdom is like a balm of encouragement for all of us parents who are in transitions learning how to shed our roles and find the new way forward. You are a light!


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