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‘Twas the night before kindergarten and all through the house,
He slept while I cried, voice squeaking like a mouse.

“He isn’t ready! Will he be okay?
How will we ever survive this day?”

The backpack was hung on a hook by the door,
While my silly mom tears cleaned the whole kitchen floor.

“He’s not going to war,” my husband kindly explained.
“He’s ready—look at all the skills he’s retained.”

But what if he doesn’t make any friends?
What if he trips over shoelaces’ loose ends?

What if his teacher doesn’t know that he’s funny,
And what if he loses all his lunch money?

RELATED: Dear Kindergarten Teacher, I’m Giving You My Baby

You see, since he was born, my sweet darling boy,
He’s been my best friend, my partner, my joy.

He’s my bedtime story at night, breakfast date in the morning,
How could this day come with so little warning?

Just yesterday, I brought him home the first time,
My arms wrapped ’round my new partner-in-crime.

I remember his chubby hand wrapped tight ’round my finger,
The long days, sleepless nights that then seemed to linger.

I swear that I rocked him to sleep just last night…
It can’t possibly be time for this flight.

I don’t know what happened, I just blinked my eyes,
And suddenly that baby is now half my size.

In the morning he’ll wake and don his superhero tee,
Brush his teeth and grab his new lunchbox with glee.

He’ll slip on his backpack and run down the drive.
(He won’t need my hand, as he’s “already five.”)

RELATED: Kindergarten Is the Start of Letting You Go

I’ll fight back tears as he climbs up the bus stairs,
My heart filled with pride and unspoken prayers.

Help him grow and learn and keep safe, I’ll pray,
Please help him have a great first day.

Find him a friend for lunch and to play with outside,
A teacher who’ll make him puff up with pride.

I’ll watch him and wave as he drives down the street,
On a day that’s so cool, but so bittersweet.

He’ll be fine, I’ll assure myself as I close the door,
Wipe your tears, Mom—your boy is ready to soar.

There’s so much excitement to look forward to,
As one chapter closes and one starts anew.

He’ll love getting a book at the library and a whole class of art
(And probably won’t forget me in the hours we’re apart).

I can’t wait to hear stories of new friends he’s met . . . 
And I’m sure I’ll survive. (Is it 3 o’clock yet?!)

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Caitlin Q. Bailey O'Neill

Caitlin Q. Bailey O'Neill goes by Mommy to her son Reilly and daughter Ainsley, Caitlin to her husband and family and friends, and "Word Girl" to her coworkers. While she may grasp the fine art of grammar, she's very much still figuring out the bittersweet roller coaster ride that is motherhood.

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