I try my best to not let my extreme sentimentality make me sad but some days, it's just too much to handle. When my oldest son was two, I remember thinking, "Thank goodness he'll be almost six when he starts kindergarten. I still have four more years with him at home with me." My head and my heart feel like I was just thinking those thoughts yesterday, yet here I am---less than five months from sending him off to kindergarten every day.
I am definitely thankful that 1) we were able to find a school that still offers half day kindergarten and 2) we have been slowly progressing towards him being gone every morning. He did two morning preschool last year and is in three morning preschool this year. I have learned that this progression is possibly just as necessary for me as it is for him. Still...it's hard to imagine only having weekend mornings with him starting next year. I love slow mornings. I love enjoying the morning light and not having to be on a strict schedule every day. Simply put: I love being with him.
I know. I know. I'll still have summer breaks and all of the shorter breaks in between but it's just not the same. I truly do love witnessing him experiencing new things and learning how to make new friends and respect different authority figures. I love that he is learning to do things without me being around all of the time....but at the same time, I hate that he's learning to do things without me being around all of the time. That was definitely one of the strangest feelings when I dropped him off at preschool that very first day: the realization that he would be doing all of these new things that I would have to hear second hand instead of experiencing with my own eyes---a significant change for a full time stay at home mom. (Probably a shock to hear but I cried a majority of the time he was gone that first morning.) It's a lesson for him and for me about letting go. So far the letting go has been gradual but always happening, always consistent, always occurring.
Being the sentimental schmuck that I am, I start to get all weepy when I think about this being the end of this part of my oldest's childhood. Have we adequately prepared him for what's ahead? Did we take full advantage of these five and half years before heading off to school? Should I have done anything different? What if he gets bullied? What if he IS the bully? What if...what if...what if... I'm an over analyzer, sometimes a worse case scenario thinker, and when my mind starts down this path, I can end up feeling not so positive and hopeful. Kind of goes with my last post about our inner critic, right? First of all, I can't change the mistakes I have made and secondly, I have done a lot more things right than I have done wrong. So those thoughts I have? Oh man, they are just not helpful or encouraging. Why do we allow ourselves to think like that? I think it's because our babies become kids who become teenagers who become adults and frankly, we just aren't ready. Will we ever be ready? I told my husband to just expect that I will be an emotional mess for the rest of my life. My love for my boys just pushes these emotional buttons that I had no idea I had! I've always been sensitive and emotional but wow...where did all these tears come from?? They are never ending!
So...what's this all about, Allison? We can't stop our children from growing up and our deepest dreams are that they will be independent, caring, happy, kind people, right?
Yes to all of that. It certainly doesn't make it simpler or pull the heartstrings less. But we learn as we go. We learn to let go a little at a time, even if it's hard and even if it hurts. Bear with me when he starts kindergarten this fall. It might be teary eyed at every class for awhile. :-)