Kindergarten: Maybe tomorrow will be great

August 28

Addi greets her little brother, Cooper, after school. (Danielle Herzog)

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I long for my daughter to be back in preschool.
I long for a time when I knew what to expect and didn’t have to worry how each day was going.

My daughter isn’t loving kindergarten. She’s crying in the morning saying she doesn’t want to go, and I’m putting on that strong, brave face telling her that it will be awesome.

The problem is – it isn’t awesome.

She has 28 students in her class to just one teacher. She has students that need a great deal of attention due to disciplinary issues and on top of that, she’s realizing that friendships just don’t happen overnight.

And I know this is all good for her. Important lessons to learn. I really do know that.

But I hate it. I hate watching her long to connect with the other girls. I hate hearing about how much she misses me. And I hate that she’s lost a bit of the zest for school that she used to have.

But then I check myself. I was an educator and I know that things from a child’s perspective are usually quite different from the reality.

So I’m waiting for her to find that spark. And for her to find that friend she can’t wait to play with at recess. I’m waiting for her to not cry at the idea of being away from me and our family for a few hours each day.

And each day, when I make the walk from our house to pick her up after school, I naively believe that this will be the day she says, “I had a great day at school!” But it might not be today, and I have to be okay with that.

The truth is – no one really talks about how hard the transition is for kids to move into kindergarten. You hear a lot about parents learning to let go and kids being tired. But no one tells you that those kids will feel lonely, or that making friends sometimes isn’t easy if your child is shy. And no one tells you that you’ll actually feel bad about making them go through all this.

But just when you are feeling low as the door opens for dismissal, praying there aren’t tears in her eyes, there she is running towards you with a big smile on her face.

“How was your day, sweetie?” I ask, hoping and begging without words for the answer to be the one I’ve been longing to hear.

“Good,” she says, as she takes my hand. Good, okay, I’ll take good.

Perhaps tomorrow it will be great.

Danielle Herzog has been writing about the first few steps toward school and what that means for both a mother and her child. Herzog blogs at Martinis and Minivans. You can follow her on Twitter.

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Adrienne Wichard-Edds · August 28