The Kissing Hand

Today was Mark’s first day of kindergarten, signifying the end of summer vacation, the return of actual summer-like weather notwithstanding. I thought I’d be spending the last of vacation doing fun, outdoorsy things, but instead I spent it taking care of the boys who alternated between being lethargically, feverishly ill and incredibly rambunctiously healthy, but neither at the same time. I also spent some time pondering which would be easier, two simultaneously sick children, or a longer bout of illness with only one child sick at a time, before concluding that the former is definitely preferable in my mind.

Futile ponderings aside, I was startled at how quickly and how enjoyably the summer passed. Back in February or March, I fretted a bit about the summer and activity planning, and would I go crazy without the 7.5 hours/ week of personal time I was now accustomed to? Then in the spring I was at a playground with a friend and her younger children, and she was speaking about her oldest daughter, who was in Grade One. “She has friends I don’t know and I don’t know their parents. She’s gone all day and she has her own life, completely separate from me.” It would be hard to overestimate the impact those words had on me. I could practically see the leaves of a page-a-day calendar rapidly tearing themselves off and fluttering away. I drove home with the feeling of one who has made a firm resolution: I was going to enjoy the summer with the children, dammit. We were GOING TO HAVE A GREAT TIME.

I did what I always do in the face of uncertainty, and that is to make lists and schedules. Oh yes, I am nothing if not rigid and rules-oriented. For fun, I took an Oprah quiz – Find the (Diet) Plan That Fits You – and my result was the one entitled “Restrictive”, for people who thrive on organization. I was a bit depressed at my own lameness. Anyway, I made lists of things I wanted to do and tried to schedule at least one fun place to visit per week – the zoo, playground, Science Centre – and we really did have a great time.

So what about the first day of kindergarten? The class was only one hour long, and the parents were called in to listen to the teacher read “The Kissing Hand” after which each child gave their parent a paper heart to put in their hand. I was just so proud of my big kid, who was so proud of himself at the new big kid school; although at that moment, all I could see were the calendar pages that were flying away from me.


  1. Oh, “The Kissing Hand!” Both the preschool and Kindergarten teachers read it. Makes me weepy every time.

  2. Nicole, I love your blog and today you have actually brought me to tears. My eldest starts kindergarten next week and I have many mixed emotions to go with it. Thanks for putting into words many of my own thoughts.

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