This week my eldest daughter started kindergarten. I was so excited for her and immensely proud. I was happy at drop off and at pick up. My heart swelled when I helped her get dressed in the morning and when I tucked her into bed. Yet everyone seems to be asking about how I was going, if I was upset or if I had shed tears.
I can understand why people were asking this. There are many parents who find sending their child to school and emotional moment and they express their emotion with tears. There were a few teary eyes from parents at my daughters school. But like everything in this world, just because you experience something in one way, it doesn’t mean other’s experience it the same. Just because other mums were crying didn’t mean I was less attached because I wasn’t crying. Just because I wasn’t crying, doesn’t mean it wasn’t okay for others to cry.
How I experienced the commencement of kindergarten was decided by internal feelings I hold for school, the process of starting school, different phases of life, my family, my daughter and the particular school community. All of this has been influenced by my own experiences of life influenced by my attitudes, values & beliefs, my unique personality, my own memories, decisions I’ve made in the past and the culture I have been raised in. Looking at all those influencing factors, it is no wonder that each parent there on the first, or the last day of school will experience it different to the other.
So why do we have this obsession over parents crying when school starts?
The posts on Facebook, the numerous messages to friends “How are you feeling?” – directed at the parent not the child and even naming drop off day parent gatherings “Tea and Tears”… Why?
I can understand that there are whole bunch of parents for which tears are the normal, but what about the rest? Do those mums who don’t cry need to be made to feel less? Do those mums who do cry need to be made to feel less? NO! No mother is “less than” another because she did or didn’t cry at drop off.
We all have our individual experiences.
What matters is that each mum at drop off was there for her child. She was there celebrating the next stage of life. She got her little one dressed, bag packed, lunchbox ready and bundled off in the car. She was there with a hug in the morning and at the end of the day. She was there full of love for her child – that’s what matters!