Big Enough for Kindergarten, but Not Too Big…


My first child started kindergarten a few years ago. Although he was ready, it ripped my heart a bit.

I, like many other moms, felt nauseated like my whole stomach was in knots before the first day. I wrote a little note with a chocolate kiss attached, and placed it in his lunch box. I made sure he could open all the wrappers and boxes in his lunch. I laid out his “first day of school” clothes the night before, and took melatonin to help my racing mind get some semblance of sleep that night.

His dad tried to get him to eat as much as possible at breakfast, because we know how our boy looks forward to a mid-morning snack more so than breakfast — and we didn’t want him to feel hunger in the least that day. I took first day of school” pictures and kept thinking of all the things I forgot to tell him regarding this new experience, and how he should behave.

Then we released him to the smiling bus driver with quiet prayers for protection, guidance, and kindness whispered under my breath. My eyes filled with tears the moment the bus turned out of sight, and I couldn’t stop all the guilt flooding in about how we should have done things differently for him.

I could not believe that my baby was big enough to go on a school bus all by himself. As the reality of that growth continues to sink in, I feel like each day he looks bigger and bigger to me.

But just when I feel like my baby child is beginning to slip away from me, I’ve begun to notice all the little ways that my baby isn’t too big…

He’s not too big for morning snuggles in bed. We thought once we got the hang of early school mornings, we could push back our wake-up time. But I love the extra time we have for my son to burst into our room after his alarm clock blares, pull back my covers, and climb into bed for some snuggles. He’s not too big for those.

He’s not too big to look for me out the bus window, see me blowing him kisses from the sidewalk… and he’s not yet too big to blow kisses back to me.

When we’re out and about, he’s not too big to hold my hand while strolling around together. I relish the times I feel his little hand seeking mine.

He’s not too big to sleepily ask me to carry him inside after falling asleep on a car ride home. Though more than half my size, he’s not too big for me to draw him up close, wrap his legs around my waist, and sleepily burrow his head into my neck.

He’s not too big to come to find me with a face full of tears after hitting his teeth on something or scraping his knee. Although at times he insists he can get his own bandaid, he still lets his mama do it when I ask him. He lets me love, care, and fuss over him in these moments, even when he’s big enough.

He’s not too big to be excited about a “day date” out with his parents. He still loves quality time with us. He’s still not too big to sit in my lap during an event so he can see better.

He’s not too big to seek my admiration and approval with his school work and crafty interests. He loves to tell me all about the cool upgrades he’s made to his lego vehicles. His face still beams with my big reactions and pride.

He’s not too big to look forward to our bedtime story. Although he’s been able to read for a few years now and continues to read by himself after we tuck him in… he still longs for that story that I read him every night.

And as he’s gotten older, I’m watching him grow into a thoughtful human being who loves to make his mom coffee, cook alongside his parents, and learn what it takes to become a grown-up someday. He loves learning from his grandparents and other family members too.

Although my child is getting bigger and more independent with each day, he’s not slipping away from me as quickly as I thought he was on that first day of kindergarten. At every age, there will be things he’s now big enough for; new independence is at every corner. But at every age, there will also be things he’s not yet too big for. As we grow together, I hope to soak in the pride I feel at new independence, and soak in the moments he still very much needs me.