Back to School Isn’t Only About the Kids

I dropped my oldest off for his first day of kindergarten on Monday, and while I loved seeing the third, fourth, and fifth graders riding bikes and greeting their former teachers, it also brought pangs of sadness to know I’m going to blink and my five year old will be one of those big kids. I just want to bottle him up and remember every detail: his willingness to hold my hand as we walked and take a picture in front of the school sign, the way he hugged his friend from preschool, and the extra long squeeze he gave me as we said goodbye.

His teacher was so warm as she greeted the kids, and created the most welcoming environment for my son and his new classmates. He had a labeled hook for his new Super Mario backpack, a name tag ready for him, and a cozy corner with books that he gravitated to. “I’m going to read in the teepee now, Mom,” was my cue to leave. My son is confident, eager to learn, and kind—I know he will thrive. But the laundry list of worries that parenthood brings still runs through my head: Is he going to get lost in these giant hallways (the school feels huge!)? Will he feel comfortable asking for help? Will he have enough time to eat lunch? Will he make new friends?

As I walked out of his classroom, I saw a Pete the Cat poster on the wall and reminded myself, “Does Pete worry? Goodness, no!” I know it takes a village, and I’m grateful this neighborhood school is part of ours. I’m thankful for his teachers, the thought and care they’ve put into every little detail, but mostly that they show up every day and give their whole heart and mind to these little humans. As a former teacher, I know how physically and emotionally demanding the profession can be. To all teachers, staff, school leaders: Thank you for being a teacher. Thank you for all the love, care, and attention you give to kids like mine, and for the important role you play in shaping the next generation.

And to all the parents out there: We got this. Whatever emotions the beginning of the school year might bring, know that you’re not alone.

Here’s to a 2022-2023 school year filled with optimism, creativity, and an eagerness to learn! And in the words of Pete the Cat, “It’s all good.” 

Allison Wolfe, Director of Programming Strategy at Vooks and mom of three