How Can She Possibly…?

How can she possibly be ready?

I woke up at midnight with a tightness in my chest, grasping for breath. In the dark of the night, it felt like the walls were closing in on me. It was then I realized my pillow was wet and tear soaked.

As a mom who has stayed home with her babies, waking them up every day and taking care of their needs, this has to be one of the hardest things to do… sending them off, away from home for 7 hours a day, letting someone else take care of their needs. How can she possibly be ready?

How can she be ready to navigate the halls of the big grade school, swarming with other children? How will she find her way to her classroom without me being there to guide her? How can she know how to put her backpack away, take her snack to her desk and follow the order of the day without me there to help her? How can she possibly carry a big heavy tray full of lunch food across the crowded lunchroom without dumping it across the floor? How can she be ready for spelling tests, reading homework and math problems? How can she possibly be ready?

I know I’ve sent other kids off to school and they’ve thrived… but I worry about her so much. I worry that others won’t get and understand her quirky little self. I worry that she’ll be the one on the playground alone or sitting at the lunch table with no one else coming to sit by her. I worry that she just won’t get the school work that she’s given, even though I know she is completely capable. I worry about the kids out there who aren’t so kind… and I worry about her tender heart. She is a beautiful, wonderful, spirited, funny, sweet girl… but what if no one else sees that?

I’m leaving her in the hands of a trusted, loving, incredible teacher and I still worry. What if she can’t do it without me there… which is silly, I know, but how can she possibly be ready?

This is why we do this mothering thing, right? To prepare them for the day when they are pushed a little further and begin to really fly on their own.

But I still grasp at the thought… how can she possibly be ready? I know my heart is not.

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  1. Kelly says

    I just got to work after dropping my only child off for the 1st day of 2ND grade…
    My daughter is not as outgoing as some children so I have worried everyday since pre-school about her when I am not there with her. Although she cried some nights at bedtime (and I in turn cried myself to sleep) she has done it! I know each day letter her go brings her that much closer to preparing her for the time I won’t be there at the end of her hard day. I am sure that you have given her all that she needs and she will thrive!

  2. Aggie says

    I feel you Kristen, I just sent Gina off to kindergarten. Last year felt worse because she was in full time preK & I had major guilt about it. I’m ready to have more babies. In theory. 😉

  3. Pat Wogan says

    Well, you’ve done it again! I am writing this with tears in my eyes (and running down my cheeks! I know just how you feel because I still feel it and as you know my kids are grown. I hurt every time they hurt. I hope for their safety everyday. I want them to be wrapped enough in my love that they can weather every storm. And believe it or not, I have the same feelings about my grandchildren. I know that they have to go through certain trials to make them stronger, but it would be so nice if everything was easy…it would be so much easier on us. You are a great mother and Ella is so much like you. Unique! But aren’t they all….she will do fine. As you said, she has an excellent teacher who knows her and knows you! She will take over from where you have to leave off. Love you!

  4. Pat Wogan says

    Kristen, when you, my last chick and child went off to college 200 miles away, a popular song on our country station had a line, ” you’ve had eighteen years to prepare for this,” and it seemed to play in the rotation as I was going to work. I was actually bawling by the time I got to work! Separations never get any easier, but they are necessary for growth!

  5. says

    Oh Kristen. My heart broke a little with this one. As the mother of a quirky child, I understand your anxiety all too well. Mine has thrived so far but we will soon enter the time when kids recognize that he is different and begin to tease. I am dreading that day. Will be thinking of you today!

  6. Pat Wogan says

    Dad says it would be nice to be there to walk you guys to school. but he wonders if he would be holding Ella’s hand, or yours…

  7. Annette says

    Oh Kristen, what a sweet and wonderful post! We do indeed raise our children well, then watch them grow and our mother hearts cling to our joys from the past and try not to let our fears control the future. Even though it is bittersweet, enjoy participating in these times and continue to blog like this. Someday your daughter will treasure what you have written.

    BTW, My sweet adopted daughter that gave us such a challenge a few years ago, is now engaged to a fine young man, doing well, and growing wisely. Hang in there momma!


  8. says

    Sweet, sweet Kristen, all I can really say, through tears, is that I love you. As you said earlier, we have been through all of this, virtually, together. We have raised up babies, had encouraging telephone calls, and supported each other along the way. I totally understand what all you are feeling right now. I have a free-spirited, unique, amazingly awesome little girl, too, who will be starting full time Kindergarten on Monday. Those things about Summer and Ella are the things that will make them strong, will make them kind-hearted, and will make them smile right through the hard days. Hugs!!

  9. says

    I’ve sent ‘that kid’ to school, too. Your heart might not be ready, but I’m guessing she is. She is because you’re her mamma, and you’ve taught her things you didn’t even realize you were teaching. Cherish this time….I’m painfully aware this week that time really does fly as the kids get older. Before you know it you’ll be like me–crying so hard you fluster a University police officer and (very impatiently) waiting for the Skype alert to ding :) (((hugs)))

  10. Courtney G. says

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I am a stay at home Mommy and my oldest goes to Kindergarten on the 6th. The morning she was born I was getting ready to go to the hospital and I heard a school bus. I said to myself I am going to blink and she is going to be getting on a school bus for school. Well here we are. I cant think of that, talk about it or see a school bus without tearing up. I know she will thrive and we will be so proud of her bravery. Still sad to see her go and grow up.

  11. says

    Oh, I know only too well how you feel. Because you know her so well, I’m guessing she is prepared and ready to go… because you made her that way. You are a good Momma. Hang in there!

  12. says

    My heart went straight to my throat as I read this. My youngest is going into third grade and my eldest is entering fifth, his last year of elementary school. I’m freaking out at the prospect of middle school next year. All of those other kids are SO BIG. How could my guy possibly be ready to mix with them?

  13. says

    Why wait 18 years to have confidence in your lovely daughter?

    Probably all the things you fear will happen in her life in some measure, and if you experience your confidence in her — and your mothering — now, she will more gracefully rise above it. The things we fear our kids might have to endure can actually nudge them toward greater resilience and deeper self-recognition. When we root our hearts in that knowledge, our confidence in them helps empower them to do what only they can do.


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