My 5 year old, Ella attended kindergarten roundup last week. So did her 32 year old parents. Much has changed in the 27 years since I first started my school days.

I’m sure you already know. 

The kids need to tie their shoes and have a good start on reading before they begin this fall. They encourage healthy food and there’s no nap times or big birthday celebrations either. The classes are bigger than I remember, too. Although my kindergarten class of 1987 can hardly compete. There were less than 30 of us in there that year. Most of us were in the same class until our graduation day 13 years later.

It won’t be like that for Ella. 

The classes are larger, the times have changed. I expected that; although I think this whole school mom thing might be eye opening for me. That’s good though. New experiences will give me plenty to talk about. 

You know I like to talk. 

There is one thing; however that shocked me about that day – more than the rules and guidelines and healthy eating efforts. It was something Ella said to me that came as a surprise; four little words that pricked my heart.

“I don’t want to.”

She wasn’t referring to school. She’s excited about kindergarten. Her words of “I don’t want to” were followed by “hang out with you, Mom.”

Double blow. 

I took the afternoon off. I planned to leave e-mails unchecked and the phone off. Even Ella’s little sister was away – at daycare. It was all planned out. A little bit of shopping first followed by a visit to her favorite park. We would cap the afternoon off with an ice cream cone; a big one with sprinkles, not one of those kid size cones. 

It was going to be a mom and Ella day, but that’s not what Ella had planned.

Her friends were at daycare, the ones that don’t come around very often. Plus, the sun was shining and she planned to have popsicles with her friends outside in that bright warm glorious spring heat.

Do you see where this is going? I couldn’t compete.

I tried to talk her out of it. I asked three times if she was sure and then I asked another three times; a total of six opportunities to back out, to hang with mom, to get an ice cream cone the size of her head. Heck – she could have asked for a pony at this point and I would have seriously pondered the idea.

OK – not a pony, but a hamster, maybe. 

She didn’t budge. We headed back to daycare and she jumped out of my car faster than usual; gone in an instant. 

A friend of mine with younger kids told me she was shocked this was already happening. I mean, we all expect this when our kids are older, but at age 5? Maybe it’s payback for all those times I made my Dad drop me off at the back of the school far away from the main doors. Maybe kids just grow up faster these days. Or maybe she just wanted a Popsicle more than an ice cream cone. Whatever the reason, Ella and I both experienced firsts on that day.

My first was harder than expected. 

I’m not worried though. I have our next mother daughter date planned and she’s not backing out on this one. I know there will come a day when I can’t convince her to spend time with her dear old mom. And when that day comes, she’ll just have to suck it up and hang out with me anyway. 

I’ll have my lists of bribes on standby, too – just in case. 

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Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.