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I just dropped my daughter off for her first day of kindergarten, and you couldn’t have been more wonderful. You caught her eye from across the playground and immediately waved. You greeted her by name with a warm smile, and you were totally OK (encouraging, even) with me hanging around for a while before actually leaving her. You looked me in the eye, smiled and greeted me happily, and pretended not to notice when I started tearing up while introducing myself. (Thank you for that.)

My daughter was the first of your students to arrive, and you chatted with her for a little while before the other kids began showing up, asking her about her missing tooth, and telling her how much you liked her dress. As other kids began to arrive, I watched you smile and greet them, and comfort the few who were a little hesitant and crying.

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My daughter was so excited for her first day of school and so ready to get started. I felt good about leaving her with you. I’m confident you know what you’re doing. I’m confident my daughter is going to have a wonderful time in your class this year. I can’t wait for you to get to know her (and your other students) better as the year progresses.

But there are things I won’t tell you.

I won’t tell you I cried as soon as I was out of sight of her this morning. And while packing her lunch and laying out her clothes last night.

I won’t tell you that, while I have every confidence in you and your abilities, I’m terrified to be leaving my baby with you (a virtual stranger right now) for seven hours each day. You see, from the day she was born, my girl has been home with me. I quit my job to be with her, and she’s been my number one focus for the last five years. I mean, she was only born just yesterday (or so it feels).

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I won’t tell you how empty the house feels without her here right now. She’s my little buddy, and she’s always right here with me, asking to help with the other kids or trying to finagle her way out of a nap. I won’t tell you twice now I’ve turned to tell her something, only to feel a bit of crushing sadness when I remembered that she was at school. I won’t tell you her brother is missing her something fierce right now.

I won’t tell you I’m jealous of you for getting to spend the day with her.

I’m jealous you’ll get to watch her make and interact with new friends, play on the playground, see her eyes light up when she creates something in art class that she thinks is just awesome (by the way, she’s discovered clouds and adds them into every single drawing she does these days). I’m jealous she’ll be seeking you out for comfort, for help, for praise instead of me. I’m jealous she’ll be coming home with stories about all the fun things she did during the day, and I’ll have to smile and tell her how happy I am for her, while secretly being miserable that I couldn’t be there to witness it too.

will tell you that you’re so lucky to have her in your class. To get to know her as she grows this year. She’s such an amazing kid, and I’m so proud of her. I hope you will be too. I can’t wait for you to get to know her little personality and her goofy sense of humor. I hope you see her for the incredible little person she is, and I hope you continue to foster and encourage her love of learning. I hope you’ll be patient with her as she learns, and I hope you’ll be stern but loving when she needs a little discipline.

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I’ve prepared her as best I can for school, and she is so proud to be a kindergartener. Please love her, care for her, and be there for her when I can’t.

This first day of school is a huge step, both for her and for me.

When I hand her off to you in the morning, I’m placing all of my hope and all of my confidence in you. I’m leaving you my most precious possession and, in return, I’m getting a “break” I don’t necessarily want.

It took everything in me to actually walk away and leave her (albeit smiling and happy) this morning. Please understand what a big deal that was.

I’m passing the torch along to you now, so to speak. Please keep the flame burning.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Jessica Wanner

Hi, I'm Jess! Coffee addict, bookworm, lover of all things chocolate.  Mom to a sweet and sassy tween girl and two crazy, rambunctious boys who may actually be feral. Reading and writing are my passion, and when I’m not wrangling the kids I can often be found curled up on the couch with my latest read.

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