How kindergarten changed my daughter – and her mother

Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant

It’s been nine months since a teary eyed mom dropped off her daughter for kindergarten, uncertain of what that first day would be like for the daughter, let alone the mom.

I remember thinking how things were about to change – that her toddler years were well behind her and her tween and teen years were just around the corner.

What I didn’t account for was just how much she would change in less than a year.

Academically, she can write and solve some math equations that may stump adults. Now, when we hop in the car, she routinely reads road and business signs along our route. At night during story time, she’s reading to me just as many pages that I read to her.

Beyond academically, however, I’ve seen an incredible shift in her personality – one that is beyond her years. She, of course, acts like a typical 6-year-old in every way, but I’ve also noticed her desire to understand more what it’s like to be an older kid or even adult.

She’s 6, and already has inquired about driving, getting married and having kids. Of course as parents, we want to skip right past those conversations, but I’ve tried to answer any questions she has had (within reason) in order to foster her curiosity.

She also has learned more than I could ever imagine from her friends, for better or worse. In fact, each day after school, I would ask her what she did at school that day, and rather than give me a run down of the curriculum, she would proceed to tell me what so-and-so did that day or that weekend.

Though she’s not always the best at considering others’ feelings (this past Mother’s Day she asked me when Kids’ Day was), I’m certain that by forming these relationships at school, she has started the process of learning how to be a better friend.

For five or six years, we’ve raised our children for the most part on our own. As parents, we were the ones who taught them their first basic life skills – eating, walking, talking. It’s difficult to let go and allow others to play important roles in further building upon these skills and teaching new ones.

I couldn’t be happier with those who have helped her embark upon this journey, and as she continues it now into the 1st grade, I can’t wait to see how she further evolves. I know one day she’s going to be a completely different person than she is now, and mom and dad won’t be the two coolest people on earth.

And that’s ok, because her journey to finding out who she is helping me discover who I am, providing me with a front-row seat to watch how I am changing as well. Whether it’s altering priorities, appreciating the littlest things that 10 years ago I took for granted, or enjoying learning what it’s like to be a child all over again, I’ve found myself evolving as a mom and person as well.

So, as my little one officially graduates from kindergarten this month and moves on to a new challenge, I will be right there beside her, enjoying watching her – and myself – grow.
Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.

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  1. beautifully written and so vividly brought to mind some like memories for me. Looking back over several generations is quite alarming at times, but being 93, I’me used to being alarmed. I too know the feelings this writer has so sweetly expressed, and really enjoy reading her essays on her chosen writings.


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