This year I will be sending my son to kindergarten.
I am not new to this rodeo. Two years ago, I stressed how my oldest would handle the transition to kindergarten all summer. We were a few months into a pandemic that cut his preschool time short, and I had a million apprehensions about what school would look like for him. We dealt with a full year of masks, close contacts, and so much fear. He, and I, made it through and now he is a big second grader who knows the ins and outs of school and is ready to take on a new school year.
In many ways the feelings I have about sending my second one to kindergarten have shifted drastically from where I was last time. We are (hopefully) on the tail end of the whole pandemic situation. I no longer have a deep-rooted fear of the unknown Covid can bring, as it went through our home last summer. Holt, my youngest, thrived during two full years of preschool where he played and learned and made a ton of friends. He experienced so many things his older brother did not have the opportunity to. Holt also has a very different personality than his big brother, who is cautious and calculated. Holt is energetic and loud, and throws caution to the wind. I believe he will take hold of kindergarten and absolutely rock it.
Certainly the differences between where we were two years ago and where we are now allots for a calm confidence as we move into the school year. However, I have been a bit surprised to find that the knot in my stomach, though tremendously smaller, is still present. Today, Holt whispered in my ear “Mommy, my tummy is nervous for kindergarten.” His normally outgoing and brave self seemed smaller somehow, and less assured. He laid out his hesitations: he’s nervous other kids won’t like him. His teacher may get upset with him at some point. He isn’t sure he will know where everything is and get lost in the building.
“It’s okay to feel nervous Bub,” I told him. “Being in kindergarten is something new and exciting but it can be scary.” I was honestly surprised to find I was reassuring myself along with reassuring him. I have no doubt he will have a fantastic year. But even though we have been here before, with the same teacher in the same school, I am also nervous for him. I hope the other kids think he is kind. I hope his teacher sees the qualities in him I am so proud of. I hope that this upcoming year he is able to adapt to whatever life may throw at him and learn that he is resilient and smart and capable.
So yes, even through round two, the nerves are still there. I would love to have a “been there, conquered that.” attitude, but it’s just not me. I realize that no matter what my boys face, even if it’s been done before, I will likely always have a teeny bit of a knot in my stomach. However, I hope that I continue to remind myself that each time my boys (or myself) are pushed out of our comfort zone, it allows us room to grow and become more ourselves than we were before. So, bring on kindergarten. We’ve got this.