Jessica Reino

Jessica Reino


For me, September is a month of transition.  Summer vacation has officially ended and now we must be able to adapt back into a school schedule complete with sports and extracurricular activities.

As I was preparing for my son’s first week of school, one question kept popping into my mind: Are we ready?

I found myself asking this question over and over again and stressing about whether my oldest son was ready to go into the first grade.  After all, he kept telling me that he was in “legit school now” and that “first grade is the real deal and it’s like going to the big leagues”.  He seemed anxious but very excited, so why was I still anxious for him?

Photograph via Aaron Burden

From that one question of “Are we ready?”, I then came up with a list of questions to verify our readiness: Was my younger son going to be terribly depressed when his older brother is back in school all day?  Would I need to find activities for him to do too? Does he actually have fun with me or does it seem that way because my oldest son is lots of fun?  Could I be more involved in the school because my youngest son is older this year?  Would I be able to juggle physically taking care of the kids in addition to their emotional well-being giving the same amount of time to both kids?  Did I buy enough school clothes for my son?  Did I get enough school supplies/refill all medications?  Will my son know how to navigate his way around the school?

Enough already, right?  That’s exactly what I said to myself too.  A few deep breaths and  I was able to function again.  The first day of school came and went and all seemed to be well until the next day.

Everything started out okay until we got to the school.  We were actually more than five minutes early (and if you know my family personally this is unheard of.  We are never early and that’s usually my fault I will admit) and there was a sea of children waiting to get into the school.  To everyone else my son appeared okay, but I looked into his eyes and I watched him take a deep breath. I knew he was getting nervous.

I told him that there would be teachers along the way who would help him get to his classroom and he nodded, wide-eyed, still looking very anxious.  I told him I knew that he could figure it out and that he had been in the school before so there was nothing to be scared about.  I again reminded him that he could ask for help if he needed it knowing that he would be too stubborn to do so.  The doors opened and the sea of children rushed into the school.  It looked like my son would be left in the wake but then a wonderful thing happened.

A classmate of his saw him from across the way and began yelling his name.  My son looked up and called out to her too.  Most of the kids had gone in and I’m not sure if they realized I could hear their conversation, but my son told his friend that he was a little nervous because he wasn’t sure of where to go.  She took his hand and said she didn’t really remember where the classroom was either but they would figure it out together.  My son laughed and entered the front doors hand-in-hand with his friend, turning quickly to wave goodbye to me and his brother.

I watched them as he started going one way and she the other, all the while still holding hands.  A teacher noticed and walked over to them and pointed the correct way to go.  It was a beautiful sight and that adorable exchange between  my son and his friend will stay with me forever.

Photograph via Aaron Burden

Those few honest words about not knowing where to go, but having faith in themselves and each other is a great lesson for us all.  How often do we feel like we are alone and flying blind?  Maybe if we can be open and honest with ourselves about our true feelings and things that stress us out but we have the ability to change, we will realize that we have a support system available to us.  All we have to do is reach out our hand.  More than likely, someone will be there to take it, maybe someone you did not even expect.

We have the ability to take care of things on our own, but we also have the ability to help others.  Giving and receiving help and sharing a little kindness are great gifts to give to others as well as ourselves.  For that I am definitely ready.  Are you?

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More About Jessica Reino: Kidlit writer, editor for @pandamoonpub, foodallergy advocate, wife and mom to two amazing boys who keep me on my toes. Find out more at