August 20, 2018

A Parenting Mantra for those First Day of School Feels.

It’s that time of year again—the first day of school.

All the feels are welcomed, right?

We celebrate and cry as our kiddos dress in their best and hop out of the car for their first day of a new school year.

Is it possible to feel both grief and joy?

Is it possible to have days of celebration and intertwined feelings wrapped within them?

Uh, yes.

This is the essence of the first day feels.

Some mothers are swiftly walking their kid, lunch box dragging and breakfast in hand, as they drop them off earlier than most, with a pit in their stomach and tears in their eyes because they, unlike other parents, do not have time to walk their kiddo to their classroom and experience their child breathe in the first encounter of this new realm. They have to grab their to-go coffee and rush to another day of work.

Single parents on the curb, waving at the bus stop, as they pray their child has a better year than the last due to another school switch and another home because bills became too high.

The grieving mother who walks out of her home, dressed for another day of work, and begins to weep as she passes children taking photos and waiting for the bus—knowing that this year her deceased child would have been heading to his first day of kindergarten.

The mother who walks her youngest child to school knowing that her eldest child will not be present in the hallways chasing off the bully because he was killed over the summer.

The mother who now is attending orientation solo due to a recent divorce and feels as though she is being judged on how well she handles these new experiences alone.

The child who is surrounded by peers and instantly recognizes her family dynamic is much different than the other children, and wonders how to navigate her feelings about it all.

The parent who is anxiously wading through his own trauma and childhood experiences and is not ready for his child to be let loose in such a toxic world, yet is loosening his grip on that small, beautiful hand.

The mother of an LGBTQ child who fears the world’s view of how her kiddo glows in all his magic, and how he will be treated unfairly and not seen as the beautiful soul he is.

The first day feels are so much more than what is seen by the eye.

We see you.

We are walking with some of the same feels as you.

So we will ask how one another are doing.

We will take a few moments on these first days to have a good cry in the car, to call up our tribe, to get coffee, and to listen to Spotify—anything to get us back on solid ground and ready to conquer a world that never seems to “get it.”

Then, we will carry on.

We will think of our children every five seconds of the day and we will rush to them after work, ready to meet and greet.

We will hug them with a smile, with tears in our eyes, as we begin to ask how their first day was and hope with all our heart it was the most epic day ever.

We will make it seem like we did not fear for them at any point of the day and knew, with all our heart, that they would rock it out.

We feel because we know the worst of the feelings.

We walk away from the bus stop, pull out of the carpool line, get them from grandma after a long day of work with just a few sacred hours before bed, and pull up to after-school care anxious, but as we lock eyes with our hearts, who live outside our bodies, we will realize they made it.

We both made it through the first day of school, with all the feels.

You tuck them in. You shed tears and weep as you recklessly crash on the floor or disappear in the bubbles as you soak in the tub for so long that it becomes cold.

You do this because tomorrow you will warrior this world again, feel these feels again, and you will continue to be the calm in an unsettled world.

You can do this because love is the bravest feel of them all.

You’ve got this.


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Jaydee Graham

author: Jaydee Graham

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