The Truth of the Back to School Tears

That long awaited Monday arrived faster than I had anticipated. And I met it with tears. The ugly kind that made me pull into the parking lot after dropping the last child off at school. The kind that made me keep my sunglasses on, so other parents wouldn’t see the crazy lady crying in her car. Because, of course, no one else cries at the first day of school. And so, although I had waited and counted down for this week to begin, I now find myself here and wish it would go away. I wish I could just snap my fingers and turn time back to when each of my kids were little, those pre-preschool years. The chubby faces, the sweet squeaky voices. My heart melts just thinking of it all. It’s almost too good to be true…because it is.


So instead of mourning the start of school, that strange bittersweet day, I wiped my tears and jumped back into routine. I got back to completing one load of laundry in the morning, back to meal planning (aka kind of thinking about dinner), back to a real quiet time, back to time with my community, and back to time with my littlest. Because he is just beginning those chubby cheeked, squeaky voiced years, and I don’t want to miss one moment of them.

Here I stand, still in mourning, still missing the craziness and yet, moving on. Choosing to live each moment intentionally and wholly. And rejoicing when we are all together once more. Even if that rejoicing lasts only an hour before I wonder why they are all trying to make me crazy.


Fittingly, as I read Numbers yesterday (because I am re-reading the Bible before the end of the year), I came upon this blessing. My heart swelled because it was the perfect verses for my children’s hearts {and my own}:

“The Lord bless you and keep you; 
The Lord make His face shine upon you; 
The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26)

I love the way God finds seemingly small ways to speak straight to my heart. The ways He reminds me that He’s got me and my children right where we need to be, so I needn’t worry. Because He has given me peace. And that, dear friends, is more than enough for me.


So to my second grade Man Child, know the Lord is with you, in all that you do. He has you where he wants you, for your growth, and I know you will be amazing.(You can read more in the Letter to My Second Grader.)


To my kindergarten Goose, it breaks my heart to see you head off to school. But your gentle heart will show Christ’s love to each and every person around you. I am excited and expectant to see how He will use you to transform those in your class through your great JOY! You shine Him in everything you do, and truly, it brings tears to my eyes.


To my Sweet Boy Child, I am constantly amazed at your growth, at the ways you joke and play. I see the Lord’s hand upon you and it leaves me speechless. Continue to grow. Continue to seek peace in the midst of anxiety. You are doing amazingly, as you push past fear and GROW.

And so, my sweet school aged children, here is to another year. Here is to growth beyond measure. And here is to His blessing and His insurmountable peace. And to many more mornings filled with tears. Because really, tears are beautiful.

Were you surprised by tears as your children began this school season? I (wrongly) assumed it would be easy since we have done it all before. But like everything with parenthood, each time around is different and difficult in its own ways. But in the end, I am thankful for the tears, because as Emily P. Freeman says, they are reminders of where my heart beats strongest. I would love to hear your back-to-school stories, or even where your heart beats strongest. 


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46 thoughts on “The Truth of the Back to School Tears

  1. Love this! I want to cry just thinking about sending Emma to preschool in a couple of weeks. I think what makes me most sad is thinking the “stay at home mom of young kids” stage of life is coming to an end. The stage where it’s just me & them, home, doing whatever we (well, they) please. I know in many ways it’s not yet coming to an end, but seeing that on the horizon is what gets me most emotional.


    • YES! I think that’s what freaked me out. Sending Alena off to school, the last of the older kids to attend daily, signaled the end is coming….and sooner than I expected. I’m constantly reminded that the days are long but the years are short and these moments remind me of just that.


  2. oh my heart I love everything about this post especially the part about God’s word

    “The Lord bless you and keep you;
    The Lord make His face shine upon you;
    The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you and give you peace.”
    (Numbers 6:24-26)

    Praying I am not a huge mess tomorrow with Oakland since I will be next door and having to greet my class after I drop him off! :/


  3. I have sent my two step-kids off to Kindergarten (they are now 7th and 3rd graders!), and I am dreading sending my own little guys. I still have two years to go, but I know there will be tears. Thank you for this beautifully written post and reminder that God has us right where we should be 🙂


  4. This is beautiful written and I really like the idea of having your kids write letters to their teachers!. I’m pretty sure that in a couple of years I’ll be the mom bawling in the parking lot. 😭


  5. I know how you feel, I think I cry on the daily just thinking about how fast they are growing. I am trying to cherish all the memories made and that we are still making. I dread the day when they are too big for me to carry and the day they don’t want to hold my hand. As much as they may stress me out, I truly love being at home with them in all the chaos that surrounds us.


  6. Beautiful. I love your sweet, soft heart for your littles! And as a teacher, it’s so fun to remember how much parents entrust us with when they send their kids to school. It’s a huge honor to work with students! Thanks for sharing this 🙂


  7. This is so sweet! My oldest daughters started 6th and 3rd grade this year and I also thought it would be easy, but found myself in tears as well 😦 time is just flying by. My youngest daughter is 2, so I’m trying to do the same thing you are and just enjoy her being little, because I know that before i know it, I’ll be dropping her off at kindergarten. Waaaaa! 😦 Thank you for sharing this and I hope your kiddos have an amazing year!


  8. we also had tears when T transitioned to his early preschool classroom. a few weeks later, he’s pushing me out the door! thank you for sharing your love and family with us!


  9. How sweet and hugs mama. You’ve got this and you know that. Thank you for sharing that Bible verse. I love how the Lord speaks to us so clearly if we just listen.


  10. I love that Bible verse… yes! Keep on! I think that as a Momma if you stay strong and show a strong sense of person that it helps little ones feel more confident on their first day. I know if I’m upset or crying, my guy wants to know what’s wrong. I plan to hold it together when dropping C off this November but I can’t promise I won’t feel a bit lost or empty without him next me all day.


    • So true, Stephanie! I always make sure to smile and jump with excitement at their first days! They are so excited and have no reason not to be! All the tears are shed after drop offs, because after the rushing is when it really hits me.


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