I don’t cry on the first day of school.

I’ve read many a back-to-school story. I’ve connected with and absorbed the numerous tales about tears, fear and a general feeling of gratitude mixed with sadness. While I can recognize the basis and biology of these feelings, I must admit, I have very few of my own. My husband, my biggest advocate and either my most or least flattering mirror constantly tells me that I’m the least romantic person he knows. As I wait for my mug or blue ribbon, I contemplate the correlation between my practical side and my non-crying-at-school-drop-off side.

The fact is, there is very little that makes me feel as accomplished in my parenting as the first day back to school. It marks the success of another season and the beginning of a new level of independence I’ve helped to foster. It signals forward motion. The alternative, the keeping of the status-quo. The pining for small while big is happening. The hesitance to acknowledge and celebrate the quick passage of time.

As a mother, these particular feelings are not a part of my daily repertoire. To the contrary, I’ve enjoyed watching them grow more individual, at first parallel and now, slowly away from their all-consuming need of me. They are not afraid to leave me. This is ok. No, this is good.

We start to let go from the moment they leave our bodies or are placed in our arms; from the moment they are ours, they still belong more to themselves.

We are just the keeper of the bees. They were built to fly. Sometimes, it stings. But for me, it’s mostly as sweet as honey.


  1. KatyZoesMomma says:

    I love you as always! Today was the first day of preschool, and it was all smiles, especially when she asked her teacher for homework so she could do it tonight while I do mine. There may be tears when kindergarten comes, but we will cross that bridge when we get there… 🙂 Thanks for sharing momma honey badger!

  2. For me, the first day of school leaves a lump in my throat, which is strange because I am also unromantic. It’s partially the excitement that radiates off my children, and the jarring feeling of having them close for so many months and then gone all day. The lump is gone by 9:30 on that first day, though, and I’m enjoying my coffee with a smile.

    The growth of our children is such a gift to watch. Why shouldn’t we enjoy it, while drinking a celebratory beverage out of our trophy mug?

  3. Michaela Mitchell says:

    I agree completely. The first day of kindergarten for my oldest was a moment of, “Whoa, I’m leaving my child in the care of the school system now.” But that’s only because he never went to daycare, and I hadn’t experienced that separation of another adult caring for him. Now, I see these moments as exactly as you described them – my boys have been moving away from me since the second they were born. I’m ok with that. The challenge is making sure I do the best I can by them so that they have the opportunity to become the best they can be.

  4. I am with you. My kids love the freedom, I love the freedom. Everyone loves the FREEDOM!!!!!! Sweet as honey, you got that right sister. xoxo

  5. I’ve yet to experience the first day on the bus, but I’m printing this and laminating it to remember the GOOD about forward progress. In the meantime, I’m sharing this shizz with errbody because there were too many tears on my Facebook page today, too 😉

    P.S. I hope Stella rocked it.

  6. I’ve been sad about it in the past, but as the kids have grown my reactions more closely reflect theirs – when they are stressed or nervous, I’m stressed and nervous for them (under the surface, of course). But I agree that it’s much better when they aren’t afraid, and I’m not afraid, and we can just be excited together.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I felt like I was such a weirdo/bad mom when I didn’t cry buckets the first day she went to daycare and I was back to work. It felt only a little strange but mostly fine.

  8. “It marks the success of another season and the beginning of a new level of independence I’ve helped to foster. It signals forward motion.” I couldn’t agree more. I am always very proud on the first day of school–of my kids, of me, of how each one of us is growing and thriving. Alas, I am also excited about a boozy breakfast with my friends.

  9. Kerri Morton says:

    I definitely had several choked up moments leading to today’s big start of kindergarten…but when it finally arrived my little guy was smiling and excited, and so was I. His older brother was a huge buffer for him, which was pure joy to watch. We got some great pictures and we all celebrated his big moment. I’m sure there will be lots of private tears, but mostly celebration of happy, healthy, growing-like-weeds, little boys. Cheers to the coffee mug!

  10. My son started kindergarten this week. I didn’t cry, at least not publicly. But internally, I was a sloppy mess. Here’s to keeping our bees happy and healthy!

  11. You know, I didn’t cry when we left her at school. I didn’t cry when I left her at daycare either. But I choke up 50 times a week over seemingly small things, like when I realized she had learned to cover up her nervousness for us, or how she pay such attention to setting the table for when friends come over.

  12. I really enjoy your posts. In fact, your blog is actually the only one I follow 🙂
    I’m a fairly new mom, my little girl was nine months yesterday. I’m going to try to keep what you’ve written here in mind when she starts daycare in a few months…hard to think about her being away from me for so long, but you’re right, it should be a celebration that she’s able to be away and is growing up and heading toward independence! I think I’ll stick this post to my fridge as a reminder of this to read through my blurry eyes when she starts………
    Thanks again!

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