Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Arrival of School.

My baby boy is in kindergarten.

When you have a child, there are a million plans, a million dreams.  You are constantly saying things like,
"oh, well when they walk, then I can. . . "
"when they're weaned, then. . ."
"when they're potty trained, then. . ."
"when they can pick up, then. . ."
"when they can feed themselves, then. . ."

When you become a parent you lose all of the freedoms that you took for granted.  You learn what it's like to drink your coffee cold, how much less enjoyable it is to eat dinner while nursing.  You linger less and hurry more.  You are slapped in the face by all the can'ts that have suddenly taken over your life.  You begin to fantasize about all of the old freedoms you'll get back as your children grow.  It's almost like a giddy, guilty pleasure.
Oh, well I will drink a glass of wine when we go out, and linger over every bite of a two hour dinner, without having to get up fifty times.
Maybe you'll wear heels again.
Maybe you'll go back to work.
Maybe you'll read a book all the way through, rather than in bits and pieces throughout the year.

But, it all hinges on one thing.  Your baby getting older.  That wonderful, strange, pink thing you birthed that looked at you with barely focused eyes and woke you in the night and needed you, with every single ounce of their being.  That baby will grow.  They will need you less, they will focus on you less.  You will find yourself demanding their attention.  They will push from your kisses rather than lean in.  Your baby will find their own identity and they will demand that you see them as a separate being.

And it aches.

For a while, in that midnight haze of nursing, and changing, and feeding, they were a part of you.  Then they grew and while they still need you, they very, very slowly develop into their own little person.

You will find that you are so caught up in this change.  You'll revel in drinking a hot cup of coffee while they look at books beside you.  You'll enjoy pushing them on the swings and playing chase.  You will love the feeling of their hand in yours while you walk down the street.  Little freedoms, that at the time cost you nothing.  You simply enjoyed the growing beauty that you were carefully tending.

Then all at once, they have grown and now it is time to send them away.

They must go to school.  They must learn all of the things that are so very important.  They'll learn about our country, how to read, how to write, how to add, and subtract.  All of the things that you were slowly teaching, now they must sit at a desk and learn with all of the other children.  They are now big.

It feels like the worst sort of wrenching.  As if this life I birthed is being stolen away.  I do not like it, no, I do not like it one bit.

When I look at his face, I see my baby, I see the boy wonder in his eyes, I see his tender heart.  I want to protect all of those things that I have been nurturing since he came to this world.

Rather I have relinquished him to another.  Someone else is teaching him and tending him and demanding that he figure it out for himself.

Other children are either being kind or they are not.  There is nothing I can do.  I cannot run interference.  I have to let him learn about who he is, when mommy is not around.

I get to watch as he grows, but not all of the moments are spent with me.  He will enjoy accomplishing tasks, and I will hear of them from his daily recants or reports from his teacher.  Little things that I have so jealously guarded are now being recited to me.

I do have more freedom.  It's just my three year old and myself.  Yes, it is easier.  Yes, I can get more done.  But, there's this empty spot in our day.  I go back to find out what's taking Judah so long, only to remember he's at school.  When we cross the street I reach for his hand, but it isn't there.  He is sitting in  a classroom looking aptly at his teacher, memorizing colors and letters.  He's playing with new friends and running.  He's smelling new paper and freshly sharpened pencils and he is associating them with the newness of school, the crisp air of fall.

He is finding his way.  My sweet precious boy is growing up.

I jealously want to guard him from this.  I want to take him to Neverland.  I want him to brandish his sword and believe that he can fly.  I want him to laugh without thought.  I want him to be exactly who he is right now.

I want to freeze these moments.  They simply fly by, too fast.

My first born, my son, is in kindergarten.

I know that he needs this.  I know that this is right.  It simply aches to watch them grow.

I no longer care for the freedoms.  I would simply hold tight a little longer.


Jenny Fuqua said...

My oldest also started Kindergarten. I feel the exact same way. I too have a three year old still at home with me and I find myself holding her longer, for I don't know what I'll do when she is in school.

Cherylyn Petersen said...

Good luck to you Jenny! Hopefully, as with all things, it will get easier.