I’ve had time to reflect on why the first day of kindergarten is so hard for me, as it is for so many other moms in my place.
It’s a little of this, a little of that, and pretty much everything in between.
It is the dropping you off. It’s the walking away. It’s the wondering … the all-day wondering about what you will do and who you will meet and how you will feel. It’s the hoping you’ll be accepted. It’s the hoping you’ll accept others. It’s the clenching my hands together and squeezing my eyes shut and praying you’ll make the right choices, learn from your mistakes, and know that you are loved no matter what.
It’s the letting go. And I’ve done it before – in many ways and to different degrees – and it’ll be okay, but it always hurts. The letting you go – it always hurts.
I don’t want to. I want to pull you in. Closer than ever before. I want to brush your hair back, kiss your forehead, wrap you up in my arms and tell you, the school district, the government … whoever made the rules that five year olds are ready for this nonsense … that NO THEY ARE NOT. They are babies. Babies that we watched breathe their first breaths, see their first sights, cry their first cries and need us more than they’ve ever needed anything. We taught them to crawl, to walk, to eat solid foods, to sleep on a schedule and use the potty and say please and thank you.
And now we are packing them lunches, shoving rulers and glue sticks into their backpacks and sending them off. To meet new people. To find their own way. What if they are scared? What if they feel left out or unsure? What if they want to go home and we’re not there to hear them?
I mean it’s crazy. Five year olds going to school. Who in the WORLD came up with this?
But lo and behold I’ve caved to the system and I’m sending you off. Spiderman backpack, Batman lunch box and all. I’m letting you go a little more than I’ve ever let you go before and my heart is crumbling and it’s bursting.
Crumbling because this is just plain too soon too fast and WRONG, as I’ve stated before.
And bursting because of the privilege of getting to go through this milestone day with you. To know that this moment represents the first day of you “becoming” what you’ll eventually be. I cannot wait to see where your bright and curious mind will take you. I can’t wait to see who you gravitate towards and who you will draw in with your hilarious, quirky and compassionate nature. I can’t wait to see your interests evolve and to journey right alongside you and encourage you in your passions.
So maybe stopping time isn’t the best thing for any of us. Because watching you grow and change and become your amazing five year old self has and will forever be my life’s joy. And I want to see more. I can’t wait to see more – no matter how gut wrenching the act of letting go has and will be – my tears will be both crushing AND delirious because I CANT WAIT to see more.
And on the subject of you “becoming,” I can’t wait for that either. An athlete, a scientist, a fisherman, a builder, or a “sharky shark.” The possibilities are endless and I promise to devote myself to loving and supporting whatever you love.
But just know, even before you set foot in that classroom, you have already “become” to me. You already ARE a phenomenal human being – full of warmth, sensitivity, compassion, zest, humor, excitement and love – lots of sweet, Caleb-sized love that is beyond compare.