Motherhood

Toby’s First Day of Kindergarten

toby-goddard-williams

Once upon a time, there was a teeny tiny baby. He was the loveliest little soul with curious eyes and puppy dog hands. His grandfather compared him to a sparrow.

Through the years, he got bigger and learned to sing songs and have opinions and stand up without even holding onto the coffee table! He became a little entertainer who made his family laugh. He started preschool and took a fancy picture. One night his parents went to the hospital and brought home a brother to play with.

Then, one fall, it was time to go to kindergarten. He was “a little nervous and a little excited,” which his friend told him was called “ner-cited.” The night before, his family lit candles on a chocolate cake and made up a first-day-of-school song to the tune of Happy Birthday.

And with that, he headed off to The Big School. His mama felt nervous all morning until he came home at noon, in a bit of a daze but happy enough, and she could once again breathe normally, because, as only she knows, he still is (and always will be) that little sparrow newborn at heart.

Hope all the little ones out there have a good first day of school, whenever it is! And that their parents are hanging in :) Lots of love xoxoxo

  1. Aww, I’m tearing up reading this – why do they grow up so fast?!!?

  2. colleen says...

    This is the first time I ever comment on anything in the interwebs… but that is the sweetest photo I’ve ever seen. Best of Luck to little Toby, I’m sure he will do great things!

  3. What a magical time! I love the way you celebrated. As a teacher I have to say, children have a much easier time adjusting when their parents really celebrate the milestone of starting school.

  4. Marty H says...

    Ach! Lovely, just lovely. Look at those eyes in that photo, too. Get out! What a magical age, what a lovely thing to try to look back through a child’s eyes and find that wonder.

  5. May says...

    Happy First Day at School to Toby!
    It is a bit of a teary moment to think he’s growing up so fast.
    Reading your blog is like reading a letter from a relative.

  6. Toby! Wow! Congratulation on your very first week of kindergarten. I hope you enjoyed it and had a true blast! You make my day each and every time I see you in photos. Wishing you a terrific year ahead, and fingers and toes crossed that you will finally get to enjoy that ‘bus’ experience — field trips with your new classmate friends included! I keep checking back for the bus… :) Thanks for sharing Jo! Enjoy your weekend too.~

  7. DonnaS says...

    Love the word “ner-cited.” Plan to use it soon! Super sweet post!

  8. Bridget says...

    Totally tearing up! So sweet. Congrats Toby! Oh how time flies and how true that the momma knows they’ll always be the newborn at heart :)

  9. melissa says...

    My littlest man (just a couple weeks younger than Toby!) started kindergarten in mid-August. We had about a week and half of super-sad drop offs, but now he is loving it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad to hear that!

  10. Ingrid says...

    Such a lovely essay on Toby’s first day of kindergarten. I wish him (and Anton, and actually his whole family) a lifetime of success, good health, and happiness.

  11. Rachel says...

    Oh, I just love this post so much.

  12. Mazel tov, Toby! My twins started kindergarten last month and my days now go something like this: carpool drop-off, circle the lot to make sure they walk in the right door, close my eyes and say a little prayer, drink lots of coffee & try to distract myself with work, drive by the playground during recess to ensure perimeters are secure, finally exhale when I pick them up at 2:00. You say crazy, I say Mom. xo

  13. What a sweet photo and write-up Joanna. Congratulations to Toby on his first day!!

  14. Maggie says...

    What a sweet post! It brought some tears to my eyes and I don’t even have kids! I hope you had a great day, Toby.

  15. First day for us too, Boy was also ‘ner-cited’ but held it together like a pro, it was Mama who cried!!

  16. Jen says...

    My kids are 23 and 14 now, but I clearly remember the anxiety caused by leaving my babies with their kindergarten teachers for the first time. And they grow up SO much in kindergarten!

  17. Jen says...

    Thanks for another ingenious idea. I texted my husband as soon as I saw this last night. He picked up some baklava on the way home and we stacked them to make a cake. Baby bird loved it and our first day today was tear free (even mom). Thanks for the inspiration. I hope Toby’s enjoying the new term.

  18. This is such a cute post and Toby is so adorable♥♥

  19. Christie says...

    Oh Jo, you are going to make me cry. Toby is the best.

  20. Amy in Pittsburgh says...

    This is the sweetest! I hope that Toby has a great year! My Claire started kindergarten last week. The first day was orientation and parents got to ride the bus with their child. The principal and the teachers stood outside of the school on both sides of a red “carpet” waving pom-poms and cheering the kindergarten students on as they walked through the door. That’s when I burst into tears (but I wasn’t the only Mom that turned into a puddle). I look forward to hearing about Toby’s school adventures!

  21. Sandy says...

    This is precious! My how time flies!!

  22. Allison says...

    Just cried at my desk! (pregnancy hormones ;-))

  23. Barb says...

    I had the same feeling as I my daughter entered college – it does not go away……ever

  24. Nercited is going to be the definition of my personality foorm now on because I’m ususally nervous and excited the whole time! Thanks Toby’s friend!
    By the way, I wish all the best for sweet Toby in this new fantastic chapter of his life!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  25. Jim says...

    Such a beautiful and heartfelt post. I am affected by your opinion. My sweet baby had go to school first time,Hope have a good first day of school.

  26. Monika says...

    only mama knows all this stuff!!! congrats, have a happy school!!! thank you for your great post… we have also started school last Tuesday:) Had same feelings.. thanks for sharing, which makes me realise I am not the only one “little” too much crazy about my little one:)

  27. Happy first day of Kindy Toby ;)

  28. Elspeth says...

    What a cutester! That picture is so sweet :)
    Glad he got on ok, and you’ve resumed breathing!

  29. Rebecca.H says...

    Beautifully said!!
    My son started SK, and my daughter went off to Gr.4…and although kindergarten is long past for her, I still had tears in my eyes watching my daughter walk away with her class! I love your idea of having a first day of school cake – so cute!!

  30. Annie says...

    Thank you for the beautiful post about starting school. It’s a huge step. Thankfully, y’all both took it with grace.

  31. Aw, so sweet! They grow up way too fast!

  32. abbey says...

    Oh, the tears :) I am a brand new kindergarten teacher (ner-cited too!) and longtime reader of this lovely blog. Reading the tale of this brave happy boy, followed by all the touching comments, heartens me to reveal to you darling mothers that we deeply consider that all kindergarteners are somebody’s baby.

    <3

  33. This made my cry. Thank you for sharing. I remember when my daughter was born in Brooklyn and I was walking with a two week old just trying to survive. An older neighbor and mother invited me to sit on her stoop to introduce my baby. Her children were grown and I told her that I was surprised at how strangely sad parenting felt while also being overwhelmingly joyful. She told me, “No one ever tells how painful it is to watch your children grow but I promise you will look back at this as the happiest time in your life.” So glad little Toby enjoyed his first day! I’m sure it’s harder on us.

  34. Congratulations to your sweet baby! He must be super excited about everything !

  35. Beth says...

    My sweet baby (older boy of two) also started K in Brooklyn today. They just can’t be big enough – it all seems unreal at this point! Such a sweet post and good luck to Toby on the first week! xoxo

  36. My daughter was so excited and nervous the first day of K too. She got off the bus after the first day and declared ” I love the bus. we had broccoli for breakfast and snack for lunch ” The young ones have lunch so early she thought it was breakfast. It was 10:40!!

    I love the idea of special desert, candles, and a song, which must have been a challenge to sing to the Happy Birthday tune!! Fun!

  37. Kathryn says...

    Loved this post so much. Even got a little teary-eyed!

    • Prudence says...

      awesome, its not just me who a big sop! *sniffles*!

  38. Ashley says...

    Such a genuine, sweet post straight from your heart. Although I don’t have children yet, your posts about Toby and Anton are so full of love I usually tear up.

  39. This is the sweetest picture ever. It totally communicates his personality!

  40. Emily says...

    My little guy only just turned one, and reading this made me teary! Good job, brave mama!

  41. Amy says...

    My goodness, it seems like yesterday that you and Alex were getting married, and now Toby is in kindergarten! Thank you for sharing through the years with us, Jo. Lots of love from a long-time reader.

  42. Joanna goddard says...

    What sweet comments! Thank you so much xxoxo

  43. colleen says...

    Wow, only a half day of 5K in New York! We have full days where I live. My son loves the bus and the food (it’s really good).

    • Joanna goddard says...

      Awesome that they have good food, how lucky!

      We actually usually have full days of kindergarten — the first day just ends at noon to get them acclimated.

  44. seema says...

    This is just beautiful and captures everything about this moment which all mothers can relate to. I think this post should become the famous words that women should always pass along to each other during this time in their life. You are a gifted writer.

  45. MJ says...

    tears! because they are still our little precious beings we first met. this warms my heart and i understand your sentiments exactly!

  46. Haylie Swenson says...

    I loved reading these comments, which echoed something I’m also feeling: I’ve been reading your blog forever, since well before Toby was born; in some ways we’ve all gotten to watch him grow up (I see as much of Toby as my long-distance nieces and nephews!), and you can feel the affection your readers have for your family in these comments. Thanks so much for sharing your lives with all of us faraway aunties (and uncles).

    xoxo

  47. Mish says...

    Congratulations Joanna!
    You guys are awesome!
    X

  48. Emily says...

    And don’t even have kids and this brought tears to my eyes. What a sweet account. I love to read about your motherhood adventures and your sweet little ones.

  49. Kadija says...

    He’s in kindergarten!!! I’ve been following Cup of Jo for so long that it feels like I’ve watched our sweet boys grow up! I hope he loves it, and good luck this year!!

  50. Ohhh Joanna you always work magic with your words to express your emotions to us. One of the many reasons why we love you!

    Just yesterday I was telling my husband “you know Luna will be 18 in 15 years?” Yup I was in one of those moods. Only moms understand how deep we feel about every milestone big or small. Wishing Toby the best in Kindergarten!
    xoxo

    http://www.twoplusluna.com

    • Joanna goddard says...

      Hahah I know what you mean!

  51. Christi says...

    Love this! What a beautiful way to make it special and slow it down.

  52. Patricia Mason says...

    Congrats ! I have to say it – you will be shocked at how fast time is gonna fly now….remember me telling you this ! I just sent my youngest son, my baby, off to college for his freshman year……I can’t believe it. It’s very, very, hard – enjoy every single moment with your boys…You won’t believe how fast it will go…..

  53. molly says...

    So sweet!!! I LOVE this. So happy to hear it went well! xo

  54. Wow, I can’t believe it’s that time already. Time flies! and I’m sure Toby had a great first day! I look forward to having my own children one day and every time I read your blog it makes me very happy! Thank you for sharing these little things!

    Adeola
    http://www.fineandcasual.com

  55. secretfragileskies says...

    Joanna,
    You are a spectacular mother.

  56. Hannah says...

    Joanna, I’ve been reading since before Toby was born. Happy day to him and you and Alex! It’s so lovely seeing your family thriving (especially in the wake of the tough year you’ve had.)
    I believe you are about ten years my senior and your blog means a lot to me in that it is a window to my life still yet unlived. It is so valuable to see that you don’t just grow up one day and the dynamism ends; I love that you consider and reconsider the mold of your life every day, and so publicly for us. Thanks and much love to you and your family!

  57. Aga says...

    Aw, this is so sweet! I bet you were more nercited than he was! Thanks for sharing!

    My little nephew is starting kindergarten this year and i’m in denial.
    He ADORED his pre-school teacher. One time we were trying to explain to him what a wife is. (he assumed that mommy and daddy are brother and sister). We said a wife is someone you love very much, they become your family because you want to be with them all the time. To which the little one responds, “Oh! Like Ms. Laura!”. Ms Laura being his preschool teacher. The little ones are cute.

  58. lomagirl says...

    Bless. You, of course, were really more ner-cited than he was. It’s hard when our hearts go to school without our eyes to see what’s going on. My oldest started junior high this year- same nervous excitement.

  59. It’s a little silly because my kids are in full-time daycare, but I’m filled with that special kind of mama-dread about kindergarten. My older child is three, so we still have two years, but kindergarten feels so grown up. The funny thing is I plan to either quit my job or move into teaching when she starts school, so I’ll actually see more of her then than I do now, but it still feels like such a big step into independence.

    I hope you and Toby settle into his big kid school quickly! As teary as I get over my babies growing up, I’m actually finding that I love each new stage even more than the last. I hope you experience the same!

  60. The sweetest, most beautiful little (though momentous!) tale:)

  61. ashley says...

    That was the sweetest post I have ever read. It could be a story book. Toby is precious & you are a great mom. -A

  62. Awww, that makes me excited to see my own little doodlebug and see how her first day of first grade was. I hope Toby enjoyed his first day!

  63. gina says...

    Thank you for this reminder of the first day of kindergarten.
    My teenagers started a new high school in a new state this year,
    a junior and a freshman. I have been more a wreck over this first day…first week…second week…third week…than I was when they started kindergarten. Thank you for your sweet post and the lovely picture. I still see those little kindergarten faces when I look at my big teens…it stays with you forever. And it goes fast…enjoy!

  64. Gretchen says...

    I’m so envious that kindergarten there is only until noon! Here in Chicago, kindergarten is all day. It makes it really seem that my baby is a big kid, which I am NOT ready for!! :-(

  65. Jessica says...

    Joanna, I love reading about your family traditions (kindergarten cake and lighting candles at dinner) they are so inspiring! As a mom of two very little ones I’m trying to start some of our own family traditions and special moments, and your blog has so many great ideas! Thank you :)

  66. Beautiful post. I get misty just thinking about my son heading to “real” school in 3 years.

  67. Kathryn says...

    My son started kindergarten last Monday. He was excited but mostly nervous. He held my hand the entire walk to school and kept stopping to “rest”. But, once we got to the All Purpose Room where all the kindergarteners were gathering and found his class, he gave me a quick hug and sat down with the other kids. He was so brave and grown-up. I cried a little as I was leaving (husband had tissues).

    His kindergarten is an all-day program. He’s been tired, but doing great.

  68. Susan says...

    So sweet and tender. xoxo

  69. I am counting down the hours until I get to pick her up!

  70. I love that picture of him and hope his first day went beautifully! And yours too!

  71. What a sweet idea with the first day of school cake! I am going to have to remember that.
    My sweet middle boy just started Kindergarten this week. He was quiet and apprehensive and was afraid of ” getting the answer wrong”. But he was brave (after a mini melt down and outfit change due to bunchy back pockets) and went boldly in to school. When he saw his best buddy at school, both their little shoulders relaxed, the slight panic left their eyes and they ran to each other, noses almost touching and smiled. It was a priceless moment to watch.
    Best of luck, Toby! Enjoy the adventure of Kindergarten!!

  72. So cute!! I want to do this when I have a kid.

  73. Thank you! This is so precious and heart warming!!!!

  74. Toby is officially a big kid! We had our first days of preschool last week and I found myself wandering around until I was time to pick him up. Naturebaby kept asking if it was time to go pick up her brother. Maybe one day it’ll feel normal to only have one kid at home.

  75. Joanna, that’s the difference between you and me:
    My boys started school yesterday and I (together with a few other parents) danced a conga line after drop-off.

    • Janet says...

      Ha! My daughters tossed a “see ya” my way and never looked back. Neither did I! Which is not to say I wasn’t early to pick them up!

  76. Congrats to Toby (and mom & dad) on his first day! My little man, Ethan, started preschool last week and I was nervous, but he loves it. In fact, after I spent an hour with him that first morning to make sure he was settled, he yelled “BYE!” and excitedly ran off to further explore the classroom.