The First Day of School — It Gets Easier


Blogs across the cybersphere today are bursting with tales of parental pride and angst. The first day back at school brings sentimental reflection and tears—showers of maternal (and yes, some paternal) tears.

I cry every single year on the first day of school. Happy tears, but also some from worry and that overwhelming sense of protectiveness and love that parents know so well.

This year? No tears. Not one drop.

When we got to school this morning, my son saw his friends lined up behind their new Grade five teacher and he said without a moment’s hesitation, “Bye mum!” as he ran off to join them, barely looking back. Was I sad about that? Hell no. The kid was excited to be back at school. No tears over here. In fact, I fist pumped.

Then we went to find my daughter’s class. Grade two. I taught second grade for nearly a decade and I find it hard to reconcile the memories of the children I taught over the years, with the image of my seven year today. She is so different from them, yet exactly the same in many ways.

My daughter’s teacher is perfect: young, energetic, gentle and kind. Avery hugged her and said, “I in grade two, I have new shoes, BYE MUM!” all in one breath.

Apparently like my son, my youngest child also didn’t need me hanging around, cramping her style. And did I cry about that? No way José!

My kids love to learn, they are happy at school and I can feel content knowing they are thriving and safe.

I drove home today with a grin on my face. It’s so much easier to drive by the way when your eyes aren’t blurred with tears.

To the parents who are still in the teary years, it gets easier. It really does. 

To the parents of children with special needs. The first few years are scary. Letting go and learning to trust that your child will be okay without you is very difficult. But this gets easier too.

And to those parents who fist pumped with joy along with me today? Today is a good day. 

* Addendum: As I was writing this, sirens screamed through my neighbourhood. I checked my phone to see if the school had called. I pressed my ear to the window to determine how close the emergency was to the school. Then I checked Twitter for any breaking news. Then I waited and held my breath a little. Like I said, it gets easier, but it’s never easy.

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