Watching my youngest child leave for school today brought on a mess of emotions. I’m Grieving Kindergarten, Now What Do I Do?
I’m Grieving Kindergarten, Now What Do I Do?
I lost my job today, and I’m heartbroken. My job, my identity, my mission, my purpose, my very familiar and comfortable routine, all gone in an instant. After almost 10-years of being a mom, I’ve lost my sense of self. My youngest child just left for kindergarten today, and I can’t cope. The emotions are so unbearable at times – I’m scolding, laughing and crying all at the same time. I’m grieving kindergarten. Now what do I do?
The Grief Anticipation
I saw it coming. The grief anticipation is so much worse than the surprise. The moment this summer hit me, I knew that the days were counting down. I’d hold my baby a little tighter. I’d lay in bed with her for one last snuggle. I’d give her that extra chocolate. Spoiled – absolutely. I don’t regret that. Then last night we read “Twas the Night Before Kindergarten.” I could feel my throat tighten. I choked up. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I actually watched her sleep and prayed that she would wake up and need me to comfort her. But she didn’t. Then like a blanket, a wave of depression came over me. BAM – grief.
Kindergarten Empty Nest Syndrome
Maybe it’s the constant reminder that I’m getting older, that my kids are growing up, becoming more independent, and don’t “need” their mom like they once did. Maybe it’s a glimpse into my future, the years when the real empty nest sets in. The world is preparing me for harder times ahead. Some folks call it a phase, a transition, a stage (to try and soften the blow )- but now I finally get why people have a midlife crisis. It’s too much change at one time. It’s so much heartache. It’s knowing that the world I once knew now needs a new definition. And I don’t know where to start. I don’t know if I can pick up the pieces. I don’t know if I want to.
When I Can’t Put on the Big Girl Pants
I’m kicking myself for all of the times when I yelled at my kids to be quiet. Now my house is quiet, too quiet. I feel guilty for all of the times I scolded them to NOT jump on the couch. Oh how I wish I could take it all back. Just one more hug, one more laugh, one more moment to have these kids in my arms and at home with me. So as I sit here in my yoga pants, my Netflix, my chocolate and a heaping pile of tissues, I grieve those memories. They’re streaming down my face.
The Kindergarten Mom Bucket List
Remember that roller coaster of emotions? Well, at least I’ve still got a sense of humor buried in there. I started to make a list – a crazy list. Of all of the things I’ve wanted to do as a mom, but never got to do. Maybe it will help in my grief. Maybe it will help yours. Maybe you can help me add to this list and we can laugh and cry together.
- Finally lose the baby weight
- Find a new primary care doctor
- Learn to finally apply makeup properly
- And seek out that elusive perfect shade of red lipstick
- YouTube a hairdo tutorial
- Color my hair for the first time
- Move – as in time for a new house
- Train for that half marathon
- Print and hang family pictures
- Finally organize that closet
- Go to Disney by myself
- Get a new devotional
- Reread the Harry Potter series
- Take a photography class (would you believe I’ve never taken one?), an art class, & a cooking class
- Have lunch with friends
- Lay on the beach, alone
- Take a bubble bath (but clean the tub first)
- Volunteer and give back
- Update my resume and apply for that dream job, even if I don’t get it
- Take a nap, a long no-guilt one
- Buy that one perfect dress – even if it takes hours to find
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Somewhere deep down, there’s hope, dreams, and laughter too.
Dear Parents of Kindergarten Babies
I’m not sure how long that I’ll stay here in this moment. But for now, I’m not leaving. I’m grieving kindergarten. So give me time to mourn this moment, whether it’s a few days or a few weeks. But don’t let me stay here too long. I need you to pull me back. I need to redefine me, my mission and my purpose in life – something beyond “Mom.”
Whether you’re calling it a phase, transition, life change – whatever – feel the feelings. Grieve this moment. Be a mess. I’ll even hold your hand and pass the box of tissues. And don’t try to minimize it. But don’t stay here too long. The world needs you. We need you. Redefine your life. Find purpose, mission and meaning. And come back.