My little boy is so ready for kindergarten. But, I. AM. NOT!
Due to overwhelming changes in a two-week span in our family life, I wasn’t able to reflect on my son’s first day of school. He has finished his first week as a kindergartner – and, just today while I prepared his lunch for tomorrow I realized that I am in mourning.
Beyond the complete loss of control over what his daily routine looks like, who influences him, who cares for him and how (this has been damaging enough to my mommy-psyche), I face the loss of the baby and toddler I know and feel comfortable with. And, I never thought I would say something like this. Jeez, I sound awful to my own ears (eyes). I sound like a hyper-controlling, emotionally needy, wreck of a mom…”my baby”…really? The kid is 4!
He is a boy. Not a baby. Hasn’t been for a while. I could relate to the baby and toddler and preschooler much easier than I can to a head-strong boy of 4 and a half. A boy who is loud and declares his boyhood in volumes I can never comprehend the need for. A boy who has enough energy to power a small country for decades.
The vision of these two versions of my son collide in my mind’s eye and the former fades while the latter stomps all over him loudly and happily because he is growing up and is thrilled by it.
I must say good-bye to my little guy and learn to accept this new hurricane who has taken over with his big voice, big movements and even bigger emotions.
A little voice inside me (begrudgingly) admits – I am thrilled by him too. He is as exciting as he is exhausting, as curious as he is cuddly, as awed by life as he awes me by his insights, as sensational as he is sensitive. And, so, I must treat him differently, I will always shower him with love and affection – but I have to learn to take a step back, to bite my tongue, to hold my hands in place and stop, stop, stop helping, guiding, rescuing. A boy like this requires empowering.
I hope I am woman enough to do it.
All of this because of kindergarten. His week was a combination of exuberance and separation anxiety. Of making friends, establishing new routines and smiling brilliantly every afternoon at home-time. My week was full of anxiety-ridden thoughts: is he warm enough? is he eating? is being treated well? is he making friends? And each thought evaporated at the sight of that brilliant smile every afternoon followed by the chatter of what happened at school.
Perhaps kindergarten is more about educating me, getting me ready for the growing boy who will pull and push and challenge. It is about getting me ready to be his foundation, his port, his rock (any other analogy for strength and stability can be inserted here).
Ideally, he would remain little, under my care forever. But, then, neither of us would grow or learn. And, what would be the fun in that?
Perhaps I have more to learn from kindergarten than I ever thought possible.
How have you reacted to the milestone’s in your child’s life that have reminded you to let go?