On the first day of first grade, my almost ran off without doing our ritual. It wasn't the first time he's forgotten in his excitement to get into the classroom, slide into his seat, or keep some six-year-old potty joke going with his buddies. But on this first day back to school, I noticed the near-absence of it and I pulled him back just before he crossed the threshold into a new grade.
It's our fourth year doing a kissing hand, based on the wonderful book about how a mother and son raccoon ease school worries by placing one kiss on the other's palm to hold on to throughout the day (see the video of the book in this post). When my boy transitioned to full-time preschool, it was not just a connection but a cue that our days apart were beginning. In his second year of preschool, it became a habit. In kindergarten, we just kept on. Maybe first grade is where it will end. Honestly, when he stops needing that little goodbye tradition, I am quite sure I am the only one who will miss it.
I hope that as he outgrows a kissing hand and even a farewell smooch on the cheek becomes far to embarrassing for a boy to endure, we will find some other signal or inside joke or little wink to each other as he runs off to his school day and I drive off to my own. It's not what we do -- as much as I love the sweetness and simplicity of the kissing hand -- as much as the message: Have your adventure and I will have mine...and we'll meet back up for snacks later.
Winks, an "au revoir", blowing kisses -- How do you and your kids say a special goodbye before the school day begins?
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