On Tuesday, I dropped my daughter off for the first day of Kindergarten.  As she sat with a big grin on her chosen blue square of the rainbow rug, I walked out the door, and I cried.

But I didn’t cry for her.

I love my daughter with all of my heart, and wish that I could spend every minute of every day with her.  If I had to pick my dearest friend, it would be her.  But I am not just her friend, I am her mother.  And she is ready.  Ready to take on the giant world of Kindergarten.  Ready to make new friends, and meet new challenges.  Ready to discover who she is, outside of my protective guidance.

When I walked out of my daughter’s Kindergarten door, I cried for my son.

My son, who at that very moment, I should have been dropping off at preschool.  My son, who was taken from my arms, after many reassurances that he’d be okay.  My son, who reached out for me in his last moments of life, and who I couldn’t reach out to in return.  My son, who wasn’t ready.

My son, whose first day of Kindergarten I had already imagined, but will never be able to feel.

I received much sympathy on that first day of Kindergarten.  “It’s tough to let them go”.. “It’s like we are feeding them to the wolves”.. “If only we could spy on them all day, to make sure they are okay”..  I wanted to scream and shout, “You have no idea!” but I didn’t.  I remained quiet and jittery, almost speechless, as they assumed my blurry eyes were for my daughter.

Because in their attempt at kindness and comradery, I saw myself.   I saw who I was last year.  The mom who would fret over six hours apart from either of my children.  The mom who had no idea.

And then, there was the one friend who stopped, and paid attention.  The friend who put her own fretting about her own son aside, and listened.  Who entered my world, as best she could, and understood that this day was about so much more than the first day of kindergarten.  Through her selfless act for me, I was able to see that in some ways, I am fortunate.  Fortunate that I am a mother who gets to experience kindergarten; fortunate that I have not lost both of my children; fortunate that I got to know the joy that is Rowan.  Our days are still pain mixed with moments of happiness, but happy moments are still there to be found in the smile of our daughter as she sits on a blue square.

Through a friend’s patience and kindness, I formed my response.   The words that would get me through the rest of the day.  The words that I hope convey my understanding that this day is tough for you, but I only wish that I could feel the way you do, and that there are others who wish they could feel the way I do.  The words that are not spoken in anger, but that I hope help give some understanding of a different perspective:

“I’m just glad that she’ll be home for dinner.”