The Hardest Goodbye

4 years ago

If you are an educator, you might want to skip this post.
Or read it with a parent's heart in mind.
And please don't check my grammar.
I know I wasn't supposed to start a sentence with AND.
Yeah, just skip this post altogether.
Thank you.

My friend Melisa just dropped off her last child home at college this week as I am struggling to get my five year old onto a school bus.
Trust me, the irony is not lost on me.
About the circle of life.


My five year old hates kindergarten.
I said it.
I know its only a week in.
Give me this.
Unless you have had a sobbing, emotional mess of a child every single day for the past seven days, just give me this.


She did great in preschool.
Not one tear.
The whole year.
She was so excited about starting kindergarten.
At her "sister's old school".
And riding the "big girl bus".
So when on day two, she said, "I don't want to go to school anymore", we were as shocked as anyone.
It has been six school days since the "Kindergarten suuuucks" campaign started.



Like one big friggin band aid that is taking forever to pull off.
It rips my heart out to put a sobbing child on the bus every day.
I thought a lot about homeschooling her this summer and these past six days have pushed those thoughts into the frontal lobe.
But I worry, as I have this whole summer, about not "having it in me", she won't sit still, I feel like she needs a stronger teacher than I.
I can barely have her sit still for 15 minutes of homework.
How would I do it all day long?
Would I have the patience?

Then there is the whole "socialization" issue.
I have many blogging friends who homeschool and they are all amazing.
In fact, I think I want to have them teach ME about reading, English and Math.
One of my friends, Natasha, wrote the following on her Facebook status on the evening I went to "curriculum night" at my daughter's elementary school......

Ran into someone tonight who without knowing me for a full five minutes told me that I'm doing a disservice to my children by homeschooling them. Because, wait for it....they won't be socialized. I'm sure that upon meeting MY kids, they'd change their tune pronto.

Yet I sit at said curriculum night and none of the parents talk to one another.
Oh yes, socialization is a great thing.
And these children, that my child goes to school with, are being raised by these great social geniuses who can't even form a smile when you look their way

The teacher told us that Ella is the only one reacting this way.
Thanks for that, by the way.
Couldn't you just LIE TO ME???
Don't you see the desperation in my face and hear the faltering in my voice?
I already feel like a failure as a parent.
Why are all the other kids adjusting well and mine is a blubbering mess each day?
The bus driver tells me that she isn't the only one.
Which makes me think it might be more about the bus ride than the actual school thing.
I am giving it two more weeks of the bus.
Originally I was going to only give it a week but realistically I know that I need to push her a little.
As hard as this is on my heart, body, everything.

I am so afraid of change.
I see this in Ella.
And I feel guilty that this unfortunate gene passed on to her.
She is reacting this way because of

I have been putting away "treats" for her.
Gummy worms, sticker sets, m and m's.
And pulling them out each afternoon to give to her when she finishes her day.
But if I keep doing this, we will be broke.
And she will be 500 pounds.
So I needed to come up with a plan.

I asked her what some of her "wishes" are.
What she would love to do if she had her "wish".
We wrote down ideas like, you pick what we have for dinner! or go get ice cream!

Then we folded them and put them in a jar on the counter.

YOU GOT THIS, sweet baby.
I made a chart.

And pulled out stickers.

For every day she gets through school (hopefully without crying), she gets a sticker.
Then on Friday after school, she gets to draw a piece of paper out of the jar.
And we do what is on the paper.
No excuses.
I can see my waistline expanding a little.
I don't crappin' care.
I just want this to work.
To help her.
Because at this point, even the dangling of a reward in her sweet face is not stopping the tears at the bus stop.

The teacher talked a lot about "state standards" at the curriculum night.
How the standards are being kicked up a notch.
Of course they are.
About how kindergarten isn't as much about coloring, art projects or cutting but more about reading, READING and more READING.
The year my daughter starts kindergarten.
Of course.
In preparation for a test.
They take in third grade.

For the first time in her life, I felt like my daughter was a number.
A statistic.
And it made me feel ill.
I came home, read Ellie three books, left her room, had two big glasses of wine and sobbed.


She said to me before getting on the bus yesterday, "can we just go to the grocery or snuggle in your bed?"
I want MY mommy.

Please keep our Ellie in your hearts right now.
I am praying for all of your little's who are going through the same thing as well.
And I am drinking a glass of wine for all you amazing, patient teachers too.

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