It only took the cashier a second to see my face before she asked, “Are you okay?”  Uh, yeah.  I’m cool.  I’m just sobbing in the checkout lane with tears streaming down my face.  But I’m okay.  It’s the first day of school.  And, it was the first day of Kindergarten for my last kid.  The next day I would burst into tears over pickles, because she is usually there to eat all the pickles off my plate.  The day after that I put on cartoons just to feel like she was at home.  I was so not prepared for this.

But, at the same time, I was so thankful for the beautiful pictures of my girls and me, being silly, and having fun.  I had taken them to a mommy and me photo shoot just a week before school started.  These gorgeous pictures captured all the things I love about my “almost Kindergartner.”  She is beautiful, fabulous, and joyful and it shows in every shot.  I even got IN some of the pictures.  The experience meant as much as the pictures do because we had one last hurrah before school began.  So, in those early weeks of school when everyone left the house and I stayed here at home, I cherished those pictures and the memories.  They helped get me through.

That’s why I endorse taking a Kindermoon!  Like a Honeymoon or a Babymoon, a Kindermoon is a trip to mark the rite of passage that is starting Kindergarten.  It is a last chance to soak up those beautiful preschool memories and hold that child close.  It is the last hurrah of Summer!  It is one more moment for snuggles.  Not that those things disappear with Kindergarten, they just seem different somehow.

Soon they will spend more time with someone else than with you.  They will be guided and taught by a different person.  They will make friends and handle problems on their own.  They will learn to eat lunch and not just chat with their friends.  No?  Just my kid?

And mom life fundamentally changes.  Whether you work part time, full time, or stay home, your life is forever different when your children become school age.  Did I pack enough for lunch?  What day do we need a green t-shirt?  Why did E1 stop doing school work and start bringing home half finished worksheets?  I was consumed with bus problems instead of bottles, test scores instead of tummy time, and class parties instead of poop!  The last one is a welcome relief.

I think that you need a Kindermoon, a special event, or a photo shoot (I’m partial to the latter), to commemorate, memorialize, celebrate, and freeze that brief moment in time when everything is bright and beautiful and perfect and you can just LOVE EACH OTHER for a few days.  You got them all the way to age five!  You kept them alive.  You raised them.  You taught them and trained them.  Almost everything they know right now is something you taught them.  Or Mickey Mouse.  Pretty sure he taught my kids to count!  We should celebrate!  Shout, sing, dance, and hug!  You survived.  You made it to Kindergarten!  Things are going to change and memories from your trip/experience/photo shoot will help you survive the greatest challenge of motherhood:  that we are simultaneously experiencing new and exciting milestones with our children, but each one means saying good-bye to milestones passed.

One week before school started I took some pictures of my own nearly Kindergartner.  I wanted to savor the beautiful light of summer evenings and this joyful smile.   When I look at these, one year later, I see that beautiful spirit that I love, the pure joy and sweetness that is still there, but now older and wiser after a year of school.  I am so grateful for my camera and these moments.

Thanks for reading & for looking!

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