I feel for all you mama’s out there sending your babies off to Kindergarten and college this week.  My sweet Miss Bee is starting her last, first day of high school.  I am mentally preparing myself for this time next year.  I have been thinking a lot of how I am going to feel when that time comes. So, while my thoughts are fresh and I am not sobbing into my Starbucks Americano with cream and one raw sugar staring into a bag of pastry…I thought I would share with you what I learned when Miss Bee went to Kindergarten.

You’d have to fight your battles without me.

The day Miss Bee started Kindergarten I took the day off preparing for a tearful goodbye. I am glad I did.  The minute I dropped her off at the entrance of her classroom door, my heart burst.  I skipped the Muffins with Mom in the library and stayed in my bed all day, sobbing off and on.  Mr. Bee would come and check on me and just as I had pulled myself together, he’d come into the room and I would look at the clock and cry, “She’s eating lunch right now in the Cafeteria!”  But, not that articulate – it was something more of a howl.

I had so many feels that day — pride that she was happy and excited and not scared to leave me.  Fear, but not because I was worried about leaving her, more because I knew this was the beginning of her innocence sloughing away little by little.  I could no longer keep her in my safe cocoon of happiness and “it’s okay” moments.  I knew from now on, she would have to fight her battles with bullies and meanies on her own in my absence.  I am so blessed she had Mrs. Southard as her wing woman.  I couldn’t have picked a better Kindergarten teacher if I had tried.

I realized I actually liked hanging out with my child!

I think the one thing most Mothers would say after doing their raising of children is that if they could go back and do it all over again they wouldn’t take life so seriously.  I spent so much time making sure her childhood would be perfect, memorable and comforting, that I actually forgot I genuinely liked spending time with her.  Miss Bee is fun, full of life and helps me to really see things I don’t take the time to notice.  Once she started school I knew those rare one-on-one fun times of long days together would be missed.  School, friends and activities would soon replace the extra time in her life that would have been filled by me.

I’m sorry for the school pictures…

I am sorry I made you wear what I wanted you to wear for school pictures. You were right.  The bows were crazy.  I should have just let you wear the Ariel costumes you spent time in.  Who cares?  Those school pictures are awful anyway.

Buying a school lunch is okay.

Just give them the $2 everyday and let them eat spaghetti with Velveeta sauce and “steak” fingers (steak is loosely used here) with powdered mashed potatoes.  They’ll burn it off at recess and nothing I could make, even dinosaur shaped PB&J could top going through the line and getting a “Hey, Hon” from the cafeteria ladies.

Yes, you can buy a new ruler even though we have twelve at home just like it.

This was Miss Bee’s last year to go school supply shopping.  We were in Target and she said she was going to get her supplies.  It was the first time we didn’t shop together.  I stayed in the Keurig aisle fantasizing about pumpkin spice latte cups when she came back, dumped her stuff into the cart and that was it.  No ceremony, no display of her selections. Her bag of stuff has sat in the corner of her room all summer.  The ruler battle has been a legend in all families since the dawn of time.  Every year a ruler would be on the supply list and I would tell her “you have twelve at home just like it, put it back.  I’m not paying .89 for another ruler.” I say to my older self now, so what?  Just buy another one.  Who cares.  I guarantee that one day you will wish for the drawer full of rulers when you want to measure something and you can’t find a tape measure.  Or JoAnna Gaines will come up with some cute way to use rulers and I will wish I had all of them.  And, I am sorry that one year I made you buy RoseArt brand crayons instead of Crayola to save money.  She still hasn’t let me forget that.  You were right.  RoseArt sucks.

So, that’s my two cents.  If you want more inspiration click here for a beautifully written letter by a mom to her new kindergartener that I have pinned to my “Feeding my Soul” Pinterest board.  Here’s an excerpt…

“And while my heart is beating a thousand times a minute as I write this, I also know that you are ultimately God’s creation. You are called to His purpose and if I keep you right next to me, sheltering you from the world, you will not be learning the lessons He has for you. And, I will not stifle that process. So, I will let go. I will watch you walk into your classroom, and I will act as excited as you are. I will jump up and down with you as you pick out your school supplies and I will celebrate this new beginning. But, I won’t be far…even in those pre-teen years when you want to push me away, I won’t be far. And, through this process, I will rely on God to bring us closer together and closer to Him. Cause, who knows? There might be a few lessons I’m about to learn myself.”