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.