My Baby is Starting Kindergarten


In a couple of short weeks, my youngest child, my baby, will start kindergarten. Sending him brings about several questions. Is he ready? Are we making the right choice? Will he thrive and fit in? He was born in April, so he’ll be on the younger end of the spectrum. (Having a big sister who was born in September and old for her grade has only added fuel to the comparison fire.) He’s also taken an untraditional path to elementary: two years of daycare, a global pandemic, homeschool preschool, and half-day pre-k. Nothing about his schooling has seemed routine, and I often wonder if this lack of consistency will make the transition to kindergarten harder. 

But, for the better part of this last year, I’ve used these worries as a cover-up for why I’m really dreading the start of school. Remove all of the self-doubt, and the real problem is revealed… I’m sad. I just can’t believe that we’re already here. People say that childhood is fleeting, but that statement’s heartbreak is starting to hit hard.

When my oldest went off to kindergarten, I didn’t allow myself to feel this way. I welcomed distractions and was able to shift my focus elsewhere. It sounds awful, but I secretly told myself that it was ok because I would get a second chance at the early childhood experience with my youngest. I thought that if I could just jam-pack the next two years, I wouldn’t notice or feel the hurt of letting go. But life goes on, and two years go by in the blink of an eye.

This time, the start of kindergarten seems like the official close of the early childhood chapter. We’ve had so much fun and made so many memories, yet I still feel robbed. Each home video clip is like a sucker punch to the gut. I miss my babies, and the reality that now both of them will be “big kids” feels heavy.

Don’t get me wrong, this new phase of life will have its own unique beauty and I feel infinitely blessed to be able to experience it. My children are growing into smart, kind, capable little humans. It is an absolute joy to watch. But as another Indianapolis Mom said, celebrating each new milestone is coupled with a sense of mourning for who my babies used to be. It’s hard to say goodbye when you don’t want to. It’s hard to move on when you’re not ready. 

So, yes, I have some nerves and anxiety about sending my youngest to kindergarten. But the majority of the angst comes from feeling sad.