When I was working full time, before I had my second baby, Harrison went to school every day. And, Harrison cried every single morning when we dropped him off. Daddy normally did drop offs, mostly to spare me from this agony. I loved his school, and I know Harrison did too, but he hated leaving Mommy and Daddy. He also hated any sort of transition – picking him up from school was just as difficult.
Jessica spent some time teaching me how to prepare him for what we were going to do next. He still struggles with any sort of transition, and I still make a point to try to talk about what we will be doing next. Right now, I start off by singing “When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do“. Does anyone else think Daniel Tiger is an amazing parenting resource?
And, Jessica introduced me to the sweetest little story, The Kissing Hand.
If you’re not familiar with it, The Kissing Hand tells the story of Chester Raccoon and his first day of school. It tells of Chester’s fears about leaving his mommy and all that is familiar to him. And, in this story, Chester’s mother reveals a secret family tradition, passed to her from her mother, who learned it from hers: The Kissing Hand. (A tradition passed from her grandmother to her mother to her? Of course, sappy, sentimental, lives-for-tradition, memory-maker me adores this book!)
Harrison didn’t just love listening to this story. It resonated with him. He got it. He understood it. It comforted him. He could relate to Chester Raccoon.
So after reading it together, when I would drop Harrison off at school, I would kiss his sweet, chubby, open hand, press his palm to his cheek, and remind him to think, “Mommy loves you.”
My niece is starting kindergarten this year. When they were visiting with us a couple of weeks ago, I selected The Kissing Hand from our growing library to read to to the cousins at bedtime, in honor of Chloe’s first day of school.
She had never heard the story, and she and her little brother both loved it as much as Harrison. So, I couldn’t resist sending them a copy of their own.
I loved passing along another tradition. I know my sister in law will kiss Chloe’s palm and press it to her cheek on her first day next week, and I hope this sweet gesture provides both of them a little comfort on this big day and on hard days in the future.
What are your favorite back to school stories and traditions? I hope you’ll share in the comments.
PS – Mrs. Raccoon is full of wisdom. I also often quote her when I remind Harrison (and myself), that “Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do.”