Today my youngest graduated from kindergarten. Next year she’s off to big school. And, like many mums, despite my best laid plans, I clearly cannot handle it.

Case in point: This is me, on the left up there. After kindy graduation. Puffy face, red eyes, make-up stained cheeks, disheveled hair (can I blame kindy for this?).

This is what “keeping it together at preschool graduation” DOES NOT look like.

Nope. Instead, this is the face of a mum who sucks at controlling her emotions. And should probably stop wearing mascara during sentimental events.

There’s always ONE mum…

Today’s festivities are my second ‘kindy graduation’. My son did the whole preschool graduation four years ago. That one didn’t end well either. I was an weeping disaster, hiding in the back corner, too afraid to talk to anyone in fear I would spit tears on them.

Hot mess mum can’t stop sobbing in the background. Ruins kindy graduation forever.

But not this time. No way. This time would be different, I promised myself. I’m older. I’m wiser. I’m tougher.  I’ve been through this before.

So, harden the F up. It’s just a stupid kindy graduation.

But, as soon as I enter the room, the waterworks start. I can’t even make it through the first ‘graduation’ song without having to excuse myself to blow my nose.

And, worse still,  I can’t even hide behind my oversized sunnies because we’re inside. And who wears sunnies inside? Mums who cry over EVERYTHING, that’s who!

Why the long face?

So what is causing this outburst of sadness? I mean, shouldn’t I be happy? School holidays means no more lunches, no more drop offs, no more cake stalls, no more ‘shit, I forgot it’s my day to bring the cheese platter’.

Sure, I won’t miss the cheese, but I’ll miss her classroom, her teachers, her little friends that she gets so excited to see.

last day of kinder

I’ll miss the kindy songs she sings, the letters she brings home, the stories she tells me about what happens when she’s there.

I’ll miss the safety, the structure and the routine.

Next year it’s a whole new ballgame, with new teachers, new students, and new fears I will need to address with her. And it’s not something I’m ready to tackle just yet.

But you know what I’ll miss the most?

Having a non-school aged daughter by my side during the days.  I will miss those days she’s home with me, before we pick up her brother from big school. I’ll especially miss our movie mornings, our lunch dates and our errand running.

She’s not graduating college. She’s just going to big school, FFS. 

mum sad at kinder graduation

I know. But it’s the end of the first part of her life – the non-school journey. It’s been a fun little adventure for us both, one filled with so many happy memories. And now this preschool phase is over.

And that’s sad, dammit.

Perhaps it’s also the pride that brings out the waterworks. Seeing your darling up there, knowing that you’ve helped her grow into the little girl she’s become, there’s something so rewarding about that. And something that seems to trigger the happy tears.

It’s her graduation and I’ll cry if I want to

I suppose it’s just my bad luck that, for some weird reason, my heart decides to empty out this happy sadness during kindy graduation (and not in the comfort of my own house where no one has to listen to me blubber in the corner).

And I know this is just the start of the sob sessions. There’s plenty more graduations and celebrations to come. There’s heaps more things for my children to do that will make me proud, and happy, and nostalgic, and sad all at once. I look forward to each and every milestone, from scoring her first goal to taking the stage at a school concert.

No matter how old she is or what milestone we’re celebrating, I will always be there. But most likely in the backroom. Holding back the tears. And failing beautifully.

Yes, I cry at kindy graduations. And spit tears at people. And feel embarrassed and ashamed that I let my emotions get the better of me (again). But I doubt I’m the only mum who does.

So, to all the mums out there who are struggling with this milestone, you’re not alone. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to admit that watching your baby grow up is actually really really hard.

And it’s okay to look like a weeping hot mess at the end of it. You won’t be the first mum to have done it. And you certainly won’t be the last. After all, we’ve still got the first day of school to get through…

 

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe, including her son, daughter, cat, dog and partner. When she’s not writing, you can find her lounging by the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach or nagging her kids to put on their pants.

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