Kids School

My Abnormal Reaction to the First Day of Kindergarten

Written by Jessica McCaslin

It’s that time of year again. Time for school to start. The memes are floating around Facebook about teachers preparing, or dropping kids off at school. I have a kindergartener this year.

I already know how this is going to go. We’ll get to school early and take the obligatory first-day pictures. Then I’ll give him a big hug, bursting with pride, and run away before IT happens to me…

No, it’s not what you think. I’m afraid I’ll start laughing.

I’m not that parent who cries because my boy is in kindergarten, nor will I be glad to “be rid of him” for those school hours. I didn’t cry when my first child went to kindergarten.

Actually, I had quite the people-watching experience when I took my oldest for her first day of kindergarten. I saw several friends, and several acquaintances, as they ran teary-eyed for their cars. Some cried in front of their child while others hustled out of the school so they didn’t traumatize their kid or cause a scene.

My husband had to glare at me over our child’s head because, yes, I was trying to not laugh at some of the parents’ unusual behaviors.

I know. I’m so insensitive.

I kind of wanted to cry, or at least, win an Oscar for looking like I wanted to cry. That way, people wouldn’t be like “Did you see her? She didn’t shed a tear. She must have a horrible relationship with her daughter.”

But no tears came. And I have a good relationship with my daughter. The same goes for my son who will be in kindergarten this year. The same goes for our future kindergarteners.

I’m just not THAT parent, who cries at every milestone my kids hit. Maybe I’ll develop into that person. I mean, seriously, the potential is there. I cry at movies, even when I know a sad part is coming. I cry at weddings (well, except at my own). I cry at funerals. I cried when my parents, teachers, or bosses were disappointed in me. I teared up at graduation. I cried when each of my children were born. Heck, I even cry over spilled milk because it’s money down the drain, it’s a waste, and, hey, it’s yummy milk!

I did not cry when my oldest went to Maryland for three weeks, nor when my second kid went this summer. I was nervous, yes, but excited they get this opportunity to expand their horizons at such a young age (they get to go as 6-year-olds). I’ve missed them when they are with their aunt or grandparents.

I just don’t cry about it.

So here’s to all you parents out there like me. We drop our kids off for the first day of kindergarten. We take the pictures. We give the hug and kiss. Then we walk away, proud about our child’s milestone and looking forward to the stories after school.

We just don’t cry, and we show our sensitivity for other parents by giving them a hug, a smile, or just getting out of there before we start laughing at the otherwise-abnormal behaviors.

About the author

Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a Stay-At-Home-Master-Mom who is learning to cope with the daily challenges of being a full-time parent. She graduated with her Master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005.

Jessica joined Family Resources of Greater Nebraska in January 2012. She worked with children, adolescents, adults and families in and around Broken Bow, NE. Her attention has now turned to raising her children while doing online work for Family Resources of Greater Nebraska. She loves horses and has attended several Level 1 Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning trainings, where horses are used as a co-therapist for mental health issues. It’s a dream to someday be able to incorporate horses into her therapy sessions. She resides near North Platte with her husband and children.