To My Son, On the First Day of First Grade…

by Janice

As your Mom, Jackson, I have the bittersweet job of helping you grow up. With each step I cheer, my heart cringes a little. I am preparing you for a world without me.

Today, you took one of life’s huge steps and became a first grader.

You didn’t hold my hand. No – you walked ahead of me, lost in your own thoughts and nerves.

I hung back and hid behind my camera, recording it all for my sentimental heart. (One day – when you and Olivia no longer need my time – I will at least have the photos to scrapbook.)

I couldn’t bear to leave. I hung around as long as I dared and kept clicking away.

I was so proud of you, watching you bravely attack this new stage of life without even glancing at me for approval or help, and yet I missed my baby that clung to me just a few years ago.

Yes, you are growing up so fast – despite how badly I want to slow it all down.

Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristi September 4, 2008 at 8:36 am

I did the same thing when I dropped Noah off for first grade on Tuesday. I wanted him to want me there, but he was off and running. the only reason he let me walk him in was because he had two bags full of supplies that he couldn’t carry by himself. I did manage to get a couple of pictures though…I doubt I will get that next year.


2 Maddy September 4, 2008 at 9:12 am

Well you’re both doing a darned sight better than I did!

My [now] 27 year old wanted to walk to school ALONE aged 11, ridiculous child, all that traffic and who knows what! I agreed in principle and then followed her in the shadows for a week just to make sure that no made axe man attacked her in the wee small dimly lit hours of ‘walk to school’ time.

The second week as I crept alone like an invisible shadow, she turned on me, hands in pockets and a face of defiance – “I’m fine mum, I’m still alive!” I shuffled off back home with my tail between my legs.

She’s since traveled to China, Mozambique, Europe, Tibet and back packed her way around the world solo.

Next time she goes, I plan to secret myself in the back pack.



3 Carrie September 4, 2008 at 9:27 am

A heartbreaking moment, for sure. Just think, you could homeschool and you wouldn’t have to go through this… *grin*

I must say this is a nice change from the “buy this product, buy that product, go to this partner’s website, here’s some viral advertising for a site we’re hooking up with, here’s all the posts from all the other commercial blogs we’ve set up…” stuff that’s taken over this blog lately. I realize this is a business for you two, but I think you may be losing your roots and getting caught up in the commercialization. There is such a point as “too much”, when a blog becomes one huge commercial.

The blast of music from the advertisement on the right (before the playroom game pops up) doesn’t help either. Website visitors should be able to *choose* sound, not have it forced upon them.


4 SarahHub September 4, 2008 at 10:01 am

Awwwww… My daughter is still so young, I’m just going to pretend like this day will never come for me.


5 Marcia "HDMac" McFarlane September 4, 2008 at 10:15 am

OH… so precious! Sigh… I miss those days, but they do grow up albeit allllll toooooooo fast! lol


6 Sharon September 4, 2008 at 11:05 am

You’re making me tear up!
Gosh, I’m having a hard enough time taking my oldest to preschool today for the first time!

Thank God for the pictures, right?


7 Doll Clothes Gal September 4, 2008 at 11:06 am

That’s so sweet. A similar thing happened to me when I first dropped Emily, my now 10 year old. off. She seems right at home with hardly a wave of her hand to send me on my way.


8 Lisa September 4, 2008 at 11:33 am

So sweet. But it is so hard! My son started 4th grade – the little boy is gone and a big kid is taking his place. Sigh.


9 In the Trenches of Mommyhood September 4, 2008 at 11:50 am

I know what you mean. My oldest started first grade last week. I just did a post about how fast they grow.


10 Mellissa - wondermommy September 4, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I’m have a hard time with preschool, so I can only imagine how hard taking them to “real” school can be. I’m glad my daughter still has a couple years to go.


11 Shannon (Muzbee Crazy) September 4, 2008 at 1:14 pm

I go through the same thought process as you and it’s so hard. I got teary eyed reading this post. Someone once told me that once kids go to school they no longer belong to the parents. Not that I totally agree with that but it is hard when you realize that there are so many more people now that will be influencing these young lives. Can’t they just stay pre-school age for a little longer??


12 Janice September 4, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Thanks so much ladies for sharing your feelings about your kids growing up too. It helps to know we are not alone. :)

Carrie – Thank you so much for your input on our site. We have been concerned about the lack of personal posts that we have been doing. But I guess we sometimes wonder if people even want to read about us and our kids! So thank you so much for letting us know your opinion. We will definitely try to get back to publishing more personal posts.

Also – we had NO idea that music was playing automatically on our site. It doesn’t do that for us and we are THOROUGHLY against music that plays without opting in. We had no clue and we are taking it down immediately. THANK YOU!


13 Anna September 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Wow, I got a little choked up on this one. Not exactly sure why…I guess I am thinking of my little girl who still clings to me and needs me. I haven’t exactly thought of the day that she doesn’t need me like that anymore. :(


14 Bess September 4, 2008 at 2:22 pm

:( I’m sitting here, literally crying for you. Even though my two are only 1 month old and almost 3 years old, I get all teared up just thinking about them going to school and leaving me. I feel for you today!


15 Giovanna Diaries September 4, 2008 at 3:10 pm

1st grade! Wow! That is a big boy!
My heart broke for you when I read he didn’t hold your hand! WAHHHH!


16 susieshomemade September 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Ahhh…I am so in touch with that emotion! Motherhood can feel so unnatural at times. You are supposed to help them move on without you and all you want is that baby back in your arms.


17 christieo September 4, 2008 at 4:13 pm

awww what a sweet post. every year, every age is so bittersweet. time just moves so fast. i love that last photo by the way!


18 tracey September 4, 2008 at 7:23 pm

Sweet pictures. Hope his year goes great!


19 melody is slurping life September 4, 2008 at 9:44 pm

I remember well the first day my oldest walked away from me *sniff*. Jackson will do well…not sure about you, mom. ;)


20 KC September 5, 2008 at 11:23 am

sniff they do grow so fast.
my youngest dd started the 1st grade this year.. where has the time gone.


21 Petula September 5, 2008 at 1:56 pm

So sweet. My oldest will be graduating high school this year, my second and third started headstart and the fourth one is going to daycare for the first time so I know exactly what you mean.


22 Amanda September 6, 2008 at 9:50 am

My oldest started Kinder this year.People asked me if I was sad she started school, but actually I am so excited for her! I am excited for her to learn and explore her world, to make new friends and become an amazing little person. I have tried the best that I can in her short 5 years to help her be as prepared as she can, now I have to let her try out her wings!

My youngest started pre-school this week as well. Oh and she mastered potty training, (she is only 22 months)My babies have grown so much!

Maybe I wont feel this way next year, since I do work in her Kinder class as the Teacher’s Aide.

I love the pictures of Jackson, he has grown a lotover this past year, so independent. You must be one very proud Mamma.


23 nicole September 6, 2008 at 9:16 pm

That last pictures says it all…it goes far to fast, doesn’t it? Great post.


24 Jen September 8, 2008 at 8:17 am

Big (((HUGS))). I know my oldest started kindy this year, and I just can’t believe. I cried so much not wanting to let her go from my wings so to speak. She has been with me for the last six years and it was so hard letting her be in someone else’s care during the day.


25 casual friday everyday September 8, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Oh Janice, you’ve made me cry!


26 landezwa May 7, 2009 at 9:19 am

aagh shame u’ll be fine..mine is going to grade R next year and i’m tressing as in going 2 mic him hey!


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