On the eve of my oldest’s first real day of school (okay- Kindergarten), I’ve really stopped to look back at the last five years of this little man’s life.
We’ve had a lot of accomplishments and milestones achieved over his short life, and while him starting school is “my greatest accomplishment in parenting” (as quoted by my husband), it’s bittersweet for me. I am excited for him to start school and the amazing experiences and challenges that accompany it, but torn by the realization he’s no longer little.
I wonder- is he ready? Have all those little preparations we’ve been incorporating the last 9 months gotten him past his social anxiety? Is he going to crumble when he walks through the door with 30 other curious and unnerved children? Or will he be like every other 5 year old, excited on the adventure ahead.
We realized about a year ago that my oldest really struggled when he was faced in a new environment with new people, new sounds and without his everyday comforts. He could not cope and we realized this would potentially be a disaster when school started. Everything about us was structured- our dayhome and personal interactions were always consistent; our daily routine was exceptionally structured; and everything we did was comfortable and predictable. So we had to shake it up! We enrolled him in organized sports, took him without notice to new places, met new people- and hey, it worked!!
I think about the necessary life skills he will require in his adventurous months to come- did we cover them all? Letters- check! Numbers- check! Can spell his name- check! Toileting, shoes, manners- check, check, check! But then I stop and remind myself that I wasn’t the one who taught him all those skills.
Being a full-time working parent has it’s drawbacks- and at this point today, the only thing on my mind is that all the amazing childcare providers we’ve been with, were the ones who got to share that first congratulatory moment when he suceeded at learning something new. Don’t get me wrong- these providers have the patience of a Saint and are so very important in our lives; but that gleam a child gets in their eyes once they have the self satisfaction of accomplishing something was not a glimmer I was able to share often. And it breaks my heart a little today, on this emotionally charged day.
And I think ahead- the next 12+ years, he is going to continously learn new things that I had no involvement with. I know it’s part of learning and growing- and frankly why there are highly educated people that are substantially more qualified than myself- but it still makes me sad.
So tonight, I’ll take an extra moment to kiss him goodnight, tell him how he makes me proud, and remind him of his strength and courage. And then tomorrow, while waiving fairwell to the bus departing, and through misty eyes- I’ll wish him on his adventure.