Why I Can’t Wait for my Son to Start Kindergarten

Julia Arnold essays

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I remember it clearly. I was sitting in a beautiful Catholic church, my spirited 1-year-old son bouncing on my lap. I was struggling to keep him busy so he didn't cry out in the middle of a formal wedding ceremony. The woman to my left had just told me her son was to start kindergarten soon.

I was jealous.

It sounds terrible, I know. My son was still a baby. But the days. The days! They were so long.  He was too young to do most of the things I had looked forward to enjoying as a mother: art projects, park outings, baseball games. I was still mourning the loss of my independence. I was not yet resigned to putting someone else's needs first at all times. I occasionally resented it.

In the church that evening, when the mother told me her son would start school that fall, I counted in my head how long it would be before my son, my first baby, would do the same.  Four years. It felt forever away. Another lifetime, really.

Now here I am. We waded through the last four years, a little child at my heels nearly every day, often all day. It was better than I expected. It was harder than I expected. I find myself caught between excitement and sadness as kindergarten looms, just months away. The end of an era. The beginning of an era.

Though I nod along sympathetically with other parents—the ones who tear up at the mere mention of school—I don't fully relate to them. Yes, life will feel different. Yes, I will miss my first born's sweet face during a long school day, especially the quieter times we spent together, probably more than I expect. I am also feeling a burgeoning sense of pride. We did it, I think, when I look at his lanky arms and toothy smile, we've come a long way.  


About the Author

Julia Arnold

Julia Arnold is a mom of two young kids living in the Twin Cities who is still coming to terms with the fact that her counters are always sticky, and her floor is never clean. She writes about the less glamorous side of new motherhood on her blog .

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