“I hate school!” These are not the words a mother of a first grader ever wants to hear. School had been going so well this year. We started out with smiles and big dreams of becoming an Ice Cream Truck Driver when he grows up.
I was so nervous about him being in school all day. Our Kindergarten program had just been a half day. I was nervous about the amount of work required, if he would make friends, and that he would have to sit at the Peanut Free table. So, after the first day of school, I made sure to ask about lunch. To my delight, he told us a boy named Ben sat at his table and that Ben plays Pokemon Go. If you are not the parent of a young boy, finding someone who also liked Pokemon meant instant friendship. As the weeks went on in school, Ben turned out to be a great friend. My little guy didn’t talk about a lot of other kids, but he did frequently tell us what he and Ben talked about at lunch, how they traded cards at recess, and how happy he was when they switched seats and he got to sit at Ben’s table.
All was well in First Grade until last week when he came home and told us “Ben is moving to a new school.” Friday that week was Ben’s last day. We sent a letter to the family thanking them for his friendship and giving our contact information so we can hopefully get together again. My son was sad, but also didn’t seem to fully understand how this would change things.
So, Monday came along. When my little guy got home from school he informed me that “school was a nightmare!” As we started homework that evening he broke down in tears. It was like it finally hit him that his best friend wasn’t there anymore. He has always been a one or two close friends kind of kid and forming those bonds have not always come easy. He was crushed; we were crushed. And as his tears flowed those dreaded words came out, “I hate school!”
We hugged, we took a break from homework and calmed down. We came up with a plan for the next day’s recess which included asking another little boy to look at his Pokemon cards. This week has still not been easy. I am sad for him and my protective instinct wants to jump in and rescue him somehow. But I also recognize part of parenting is also letting them go through these hard bumps and come out on the other side. I know my little guy is strong. He is a fun, kind, and caring kid. I know he will make more friends and I know he won’t always hate school. But for now, and while he’ll still let me, I do think some extra hugs are in order.