New school year, new jitters….mine, not the kid’s

Today we received the packet in the mail that told us which class our nearly six year old would be in for this coming school year. We’ve been anxiously waiting for it for the last 2 weeks or so. Our anxiety was intensified as other parents began posting on our grade-level e-group about which class their children were in. Well let me clarify, I was anxious, and my husband was…curious. Our son, however, has been gloriously oblivious to the fact that WE WANTED TO KNOW WHICH CLASS HE WAS GOING TO BE IN THIS YEAR. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago, it finally clicked for him that he wouldn’t be in a class with the exact same children as this past year. He took that in stride and didn’t bring it up again.

This week, as more people learned of their placements, we realized that the social group and friends our son had formed were obviously dissolved by the teachers. Teachers take many things into consideration when grouping children and we have a strong sense of trust in the teachers’ practice and their professional decisions. When we opened up the packet today, and looked over the list of children in his new class, we were relieved to see that he has one good friend with him. As we read off the list to him, he was familiar with others (that we weren’t) and again, took it in stride that his core group of buddies from last year are not with him.

I didn’t fare as well. I was faced with a sense of sadness as I began texting the moms of his friends to let them know that he wouldn’t be in class with their children. Many a sad-faced emoticon was sent my way after that. And then it struck me: I was texting MY FRIENDS and feeling sad that I wouldn’t have an e-group and class experiences in common to bond with them over. I thought about my son, who is socially confident, extroverted, and makes new friends with no problem. At all. He’s going to be fine, in whatever class he’s placed, and with whatever group he’s in. He’s a kid who makes his own way, and can engage with anyone, irrespective of age, gender, or anything else. He has been known to convince the biggest die hard Barbie-playing girl that Barbie is a firefighter saving cats from tall trees. I am not exaggerating.

It’s sometimes often hard to separate our own emotions from those of our children when parenting through transitions or rough patches. This experience reminded me that if I’m feeling anxious about something related to parenting, I can always stop and ask myself: “Is this about me?” or “What is this REALLY about?” If I’m being honest, I should be able to uncover the underlying issue and move on.

Now, I’m going to put this to the test on the first day of school, where we have been instructed to say good-bye to our little ones in the school yard. Uh huh. I’ll let you know how that goes.


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