The first day of kindergarten can be scary for a kid, going off to school on their own for the first time.
But it can be even scarier for the parents—especially when it’s your youngest.
Lori Ferrall, a mother of three daughters from Battle Creek, Michigan, was preparing to walk her youngest, Molly, to the bus stop for her first day, but she became more emotional than usual. This was her baby, and this would be the last first-day-of-school ever. All her kids will have taken that first step out of the nest.
“I thought for sure I was going to cry,” Lori told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I’m not one to really cry, but I know how fast they grow up. I try to take every moment I can before it goes by fast.”
But Lori didn’t want it to be a sad occasion. She wanted to make it a fun, memorable time for her and her daughter—and maybe hide her tears in the process.
So she put on a dinosaur costume.
“I didn’t want to focus on the ‘oh my gosh, she’s leaving,’” Lori explained to FOX17.
“I’m going to make this fun. I’m gonna make her remember and have a story.”
Why a dinosaur costume?
Well, six-year-old Molly is a huge fan of dinosaurs, and she has been studying them passionately ever since she started reading. Going off to school, she even wore a dinosaur-print shirt and backpack:
This enthusiasm wasn’t lost on her mom, who would always find fun ways to encourage her daughter’s interest.
“She is so much in love with dinosaurs that I seem to always find ways to make her extra-excited about things with it,” Lori told Yahoo.
But Lori took things to the extreme when she found the ultimate way to have dino-fun—she spotted a $100 inflatable T-rex costume on Amazon, and knew she had to have it.
The family has had plenty of use out of the outfit. Lori has no shame about wearing it in public, everywhere from bookstores to school field days.
“We have so much fun with that costume,” Lori told FOX17. “We bring it with us to different places.”
Not that it’s particularly comfortable in there. “It feels like a sauna,” Lori told Yahoo, “So sometimes I’ll put a tiny water bottle in with me to help cool off.”
But any discomfort is worth it, just to have fun and create a memorable time.
“That’s just always been the personality for me is just to make anybody laugh,” she explained to FOX17.
“Always try to make things fun in any way.”
When it came time to bring her daughter to the bus, she knew it was a perfect opportunity to bring out the t-rex and send Molly to school with a laugh.
“Molly just loved being able to have her mom dress up as a dinosaur and be sent off,” Lori recalled to FOX17. “I was just laughing so hard.”
“The smile on her face. It was just priceless.”
Did the dinosaur stunt help ease her daughter’s first-day-of-school nerves? Lori hopes so.
“I would say it helped her if there were any jitters,” she told Yahoo.
But Lori admits, she mostly dressed up for her own sake.
“It definitely was there to help me mask my emotions.”
“I was by my husband, so I tried to act tough,” she told Yahoo. “But when I went to her school to meet her at her classroom for a picture there — not in the dinosaur suit — I really held back the tears then.”
It was an all-around emotional day, and Lori knew that other parents might be going through the same thing—so she stayed in-costume after Molly went off to school, waving at passing cars and trying to make people laugh.
As for Molly, she had a great first day—so much so that she wants to do make it a regular thing!
“She told me it was so awesome and then the next day didn’t understand why I wasn’t dressed up in the costume again,” Lori told Yahoo.