The first “day” of Kindergarten for my 3rd boy was over and I was waiting outside with the other parents, anxious to see how he did.

It was only a half-day Kindergarten, but he was my homebody, often content to play with his toys for long hours by himself. Did he survive all of the action and demands ok? I wondered.

When he walked out of the building and saw me, his face quickly went from a non-expression, to a grimace, to an absolute howl of “. . .I’m . . . so . . . HUNGRY!!!!”

I cracked up. The poor kid! Skinny as a rail back then, he had survived his early childhood on constant snacking. School was going to be an adjustment.

The new school year is not only an adjustment for kids, it’s a big one for us parents (can I get an Amen?).

Whether you are glad the kids are back in a routine or are sad that they are gone for so many hours in the day, one thing is usually constant: we are all a little wistful that our babies are growing up.

Our Facebook and Instagram feeds will be filled with pictures of kids on the first day. This is just to help us parents accept that undeniable reality that our kids are growing up and we can’t keep them little forever!

To be quite honest, sometimes during this back-to-school season, I’m an emotional wreck! The pride of seeing my kids grow is tinged with sadness that things will never quite be the same again.

If you are a parent launching a child into a bigger school adventure and you are mixed bag of emotions, believe me, you are not alone! Those feeling are absolutely natural and good. They indicate that you have a desire to cherish the moments you are in and you are grateful for your journey. This is a good thing!

Strangely, my experience this year has been so remarkably different than years past.

I didn’t walk any of my kids to school and linger while they went inside. Instead, my daughter rushed out to our neighbor’s so she could walk to school with her friend. So self-assured, she barely said goodbye.

My skinny rail-boy has filled-out over the years, and contrary to every other year of his life, he has gotten out of bed and ready for school right away these past few days.

Starting a new middle school, my boy asked only to be dropped off at the bridge where he could walk over by himself. He’s got a new haircut, new backpack, and has learned a new skill of how to open his combination locks.

This year, with far less help from me, my kids are doing the very things a parent hopes for: taking responsibility and basically telling me, in essence,  “Don’t worry. I got this.”

(Sigh) That’s a good thing, too.