It’s only a few weeks away!!

It’s all you can think about!!

It came faster than you ever expected, and you’re having a difficult time processing it.

You’re scared you’re not going to be able to get through it.

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No, it’s not the day when you leave your first baby at college.

It’s the day when you leave your first baby at Kindergarten.

Gah! It’s here! Kindergarten for your firstborn!

Now sit down, grab a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and pay attention because AHEM! Kindergarten mom class is in session!

Lesson #1: You will miss them terribly, and that’s OK

After the tearful drop off and the “Boo-Hoo Breakfast” at the school, you’re going to drive home with one less body in the car, and it’s going to feel wrong in so many ways. That first day (and probably that entire first month), you’re going to gaze at the clock all day counting hours until pick up, and your heart will actually ache a little (or a lot!)  in your chest because a piece of you is just not with you all day anymore. Missing them that deeply in natural, and will eventually ease up a bit.

Lesson #2: You may not miss them much, and that’s OK

If you’re the only mom at first day drop off who is smiling ear to ear, and eagerly wanting to drive away with one less kid, it doesn’t mean you don’t care, or won’t miss them. It really doesn’t mean anything at all, other than you probably have younger siblings at home and are excited to have less on your plate, or maybe you’re simply looking forward to some well deserved me time. Kudos to you if you’re able to enjoy (guilt free!) the welcome freedom that finally has come your way. It’s ok to NOT be a sobbing mess!

Lesson #3: They will miss you

Do they miss me? Are they crying?  Those thoughts are going to race through your mind All. Day. Long. on that first day. Yes, your little one most certainly misses you, even if they confidently strode into class without a beat you can be assured by lunchtime they’re wondering when they can go home—TO YOU. But dwelling on the thoughts that their missing you is inhibiting their learning (or other classroom activities) is irrational, and something you shouldn’t be worried about in the slightest.

Lesson #4: To you, it’s all scary

The day is long. The classroom is big. The class size is huge. He doesn’t know anyone. He needs a nap. What if he cries all day? What if he doesn’t eat lunch and is starving? The rabbit hole of scary and panicked thoughts like this that you will have that first day is long, deep, and fruitless, so don’t even start to go down it. Why? See #5.

Lesson #5: To them, it’s all exciting

While you’re at home freaking out about the big, bad, unfamiliar classroom, your child is at school looking around at a super awesome, colorful, engaging, fun-filled space full of kids his own age, and seeing it with a much different set of eyes—ones that are excited, not scared. Even if your child takes a few weeks to adjust, just know that they will adjust. Give it time.

Lesson #6—You’ve earned this time to recharge

Do NOT sit home all day and pout. Go out to lunch. Walk around Target for three hours. Drink HOT coffee. Or sit on the couch, watch bad reality TV, and eat all the junk food you want without being asked to share. Promptly extinguish even the slightest feelings of guilt.

Lesson #7—If they’re sad, it won’t last

Right now, there are literally thousands of 18-year-olds are being dropped off at their college freshman dorms, who all cried their entire first month of Kindergarten. I promise you the crying doesn’t last.

Lesson #8—If you’re sad, it won’t last

Still can’t shake the blues, still missing your baby terribly, and spending your days in a lost funk? It will stop by October. You’ll be fine. Hang tough.

Lesson #9—Teachers know what they’re doing

They really do. I know you think you know better, but you don’t. They got this. Give them the space they need to do their job, and they will do it well. Do NOT be in their face daily, emailing daily, calling daily, etc. If there is a problem, they will let you know. If you don’t hear from them, that is a GOOD thing. Please trust them, signed, Kindergarten teachers everywhere.

Lesson #10—Childhood has officially entered warp speed now

If you think the first five years went by fast, buckle up, because once your child crosses the Kindergarten threshold, childhood goes on accelerated autopilot. And let me be the 500th person to tell you this, they’re not going to be driving slowly.

Melissa Fenton

Melissa Fenton is a freelance writer, adjunct librarian, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Awareness Ambassador. She writes at http://www.4boysmother.com/. Her writing can be found all over the internet, but her work is mostly on the dinner table.