Bittersweet Beginnings

Written for Hope Magazine.

By: Jessica Brooke Chapman

“An ordinary sight to some, I glanced at the bus and the children, and then quickly glanced away.  I tried not to think about the day that was looming over us.”

*     *     *     *

In the car headed to get coffee one early morning, my husband spotted a school bus that had just picked up a load of children from their bus stop.  An ordinary sight to some, I glanced at the bus and the children, and then quickly glanced away.  I tried not to think about the day that was looming over us.  If I didn’t think about it, I didn’t have to deal with the emotions.    

My husband, unaware of my avoidance very excitedly said; “Camden will be getting on a bus like that really soon to head to Kindergarten!” 

Immediately, my heart sank and I burst into tears. 

My makeup ran down my face, it was an ugly-cry and I couldn’t stop it.  My husband slowly twisted his head, and looked at me with wide-eyes and an open mouth, as if I were some sort of alien.  He knew better than to laugh or say anything.  All of the emotion that I had saved up came out with one silly mention of a school bus: “HeisNOTridingthebus,” I said in-between huge snot-filled sobs.  “Iwilldrivehimeveryday.” (sob, sob, sob)  “Andwalkhimtohisclass.” “Ican’tbelieveheisgoingtoKindergarten.” (sob, sob, sob).   

I’m a teacher, so you’d think that I would be a little more prepared for this.  But I wasn’t.  It was not the start of just any school year, it was a bittersweet school year: my firstborn was starting Kindergarten. 

I attended Kindergarten orientation in early May, received the packet of information, and swiftly filed it at the bottom of a stack of “probably not going to get to” paperwork.  It’s not that I was not going to eventually fill it out, but I couldn’t bear the thought of rushing to sign him up for Kindergarten.  I’ll wait, I thought.

May, June and part of July flew by.  It was getting closer and I had to take care of business.  My little boy was growing up before my very eyes and there was nothing I could do to slow it down.  Toward the end of July, I gave in, went down to the school and officially signed him up for public school. 

That night, I laid down with him to say our prayers, and we chatted about Kindergarten.  I asked him if he had any fears, or any questions that I could answer.  I shared with him that I was there for him no matter what and that I didn’t want him to be scared about going to ‘big school’.  He didn’t really say much about it, he seemed sleepy and uninterested.  I reminded myself to talk to him about it the next day.

I stayed in his bed a little longer that night, combing his coarse hair between my fingers, trying to memorize his perfect face.  I prayed over him, thanking God for this beautiful blessing and asking God to watch over him this school year. 

When I thought he was asleep, I quietly tried to slip out of his bed.

“Mom,” he said through a yawn.  “Don’t worry about me going to Kindergarten.  I’m a big boy now.”

I went to my room.  Closed the door. 

And cried.  


Jessica Brooke Chapman is a devoted Christ follower.  She attends Celebration Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida.  She is a wife, and a working mom of two.  Jessica teaches English at Griffin Middle School.  In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, building Lego creations with her son, getting pedicures with her three year old daughter, or working on her husband’s philanthropic website: 

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One Response to Bittersweet Beginnings

  1. Carolyn says:

    Omg Jessica, that made me cry, Don’t worry it’s it’s hard to let go of them I’ll tell you because the same happened to me with my oldest daughter and when it came down to the second child I felt the same way but it was so much easier to deal with. As Parents we don;t want to let go of our children but remember God will never put anything in your path that you can’t deal with. So just enjoy every minute of it and encourage him that school is a good thing and that you will always be there no matter how good or bad he does in school.

    My Regards,

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