Kindergarten is a scary and exciting experience for parents and kids. I love to go rafting so I’m going to compare it to a day on the river.

Kindergarten is a scary and exciting experience for parents and kids. I love to go rafting so I’m going to compare it to a day on the river.

First, there is the reservation and prep period that starts a couple months before. For me it began the day that my daughter graduated preschool. Since the idea of summer break was a foreign concept for her she would ask everyday how long it was until school started. Just like my husband and I do for an exciting rafting trip we marked it on the calendar. Every day we could see how much closer we were to that exciting first day. That also gave us the opportunity to mark down milestones like school shopping, when we found out her teacher and the open house.

The memorable school shopping is also in the prep period. I enjoy shopping! I like to think of myself as a diehard shopper. However, spending a portion of my paycheck on baby wipes, Kleenex, notebooks and pencils is not my idea of fun. Then as a first time school list shopper I had a lot to learn. I didn’t understand why the boys had certain supplies and girls had others. My first reaction was to scream there is some sort of discrimination happening in elementary school. I was quickly silenced upon learning the supplies are shared by the entire class and the gender differences are just to ensure they have an even supply.

I dreamt that back to school clothes shopping with my daughter would be a bonding experience. Well it was an experience alright! I remember shopping trips with my mom always ending in a long silent car trip preceded by a drawn out fight over something I wanted to buy. Well the people at the outlet malls on August 18 witnessed history repeat itself. My mom always said that I was going to have a kid just like me and then I’d see. That saying used to mean nothing to me.

The week before a rafting trip I begin to picture myself on the river. I visualize myself in different situations. What happens if I fall out of the boat? What will I wear? You know the important things. For my daughter the visualization process was attending the open house, playing on the playground this summer and one last trip this weekend to walk around the school. There are just so many unknowns it is hard to visualize. We don’t know the daily schedule except that lunch is mid-day and PE is likely in the afternoon? I recommended to my daughter to take the first week and adopt the “go with the flow” attitude. Difficult concept for a 5 year old with slight O.C.D. tendencies to adopt.

The next stage is getting on the river. We’ll relate this stage to getting on the bus. My daughter has decided to take the bus over have mommy take her. She wanted to, “be with her friends.” Have I mentioned she is independent?

Once you get to actually going down the river there is no turning back. Similar to the river, once at the school it isn’t likely she will want to come home. Unless we receive the dreaded call saying we need to come get her. I will be walking around with my phone at all times.

Anything that could happen bad at school would be the equivalent of falling in the river. When someone falls out of the boat everyone comes together to save them. It also helps that you are equipped with a wet suit, special booties, life jacket and helmet. I know that if something goes wrong at school there will be a support net of teachers and administrators to take care of things. I’ve also wrote my daughter’s name, phone number and emergency contact information in everything. Shy of stealing Dora’s amazing backpack (that has everything in it) emergency contact information and maybe a special good luck note will have to do.

What is the final stage? Of course, there will be the big rapids where the teacher calls to correct a particular behavior. I think it will be screaming. That is another blog entirely. The final stage for the first day will be when she steps safely off the bus. I’m going to put my faith in the belief that everything will be ok, that my daughter will make it down the river safely.

Le Ann Langston

Hello! I’m Le Ann Langston and I’m the Director of Member Services Northgate for Verity Credit Union. Member Service Manager is another name for the call center manager. Talking on the phone was a hobby of mine as a teenager and now I have made a career of it. If only I had a cool headset when I was 13! In my spare time I enjoy yoga, writing and reading just about anything. I am slightly addicted to TV and am currently hooked on a number of shows. Given this list of indoor pursuits you may find it hard to believe that I enjoy traveling to new places. Most people would never know that at one point I almost moved to London just for a change of pace.

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