I have three boys. My oldest – nearing turning five – is a Leo. While on hospitalized bed rest wondering when he was going to be born, I had the chance of birthing a Leo or a Virgo. Due to my prenatal circumstances (which I'll save for another blog), I knew I was bound to have a preemie, so I thought it only appropriate to hope for a Leo – a lion – the strongest sign of the zodiac.
On August 12th, 2013, my Nicholas arrived six weeks early. Four pounds, a total fighter, and given a name meaning "victorious." In other words, a lion.
As a mom of three boys, Nicholas has it the hardest. It's him that I learn with and learn from – it's him that helps shape me into the mother I am and the mother I try to be. I feel most protective towards him. He's my gopher. He's my buddy. He's the boy who first made me a mom. And now that he's making the preschool to Pre-K transition, I can't help but feel a little lost inside – missing the baby he once was; the baby he'll never be again.
I took his whole preschool graduation hard. Preschool is the best. It’s all fun. The kids are nice. The teachers are comforting. And there’s not much to fear. Kids have yet to learn meanness, exclusion and cruelty. The preschool age is pure innocence, and if I had it my way, I’d confine him in that safe preschool bubble forever.
But I can’t.
Upon Nicholas’ preschool graduation, I went to write him a card, but instead, words poured from my heart.
The first few lines:
School bells are ringing
They’re calling your name
A brand new beginning,
new chapter, new game
It seems like yesterday
In my tummy you grew
And we rocked for months
In quiet, me and you
As I continued writing, my eyes teared. A huge transition was on the horizon: for him and for me. While my mind had obviously been focused on prepping him for a new school, who was going to prepare me? I can’t help but feel somewhat empty, knowing his “baby stage” has come and gone.
I kept writing, documenting his growing up before my eyes; that I’ve savored every first, and that I’m proud of the little boy he is becoming: a cape-wearing, compassionate, creative old soul.
I want to protect you
From germs and from dirt
From running bare feet
Or ripping your shirt
But the truth is, my dear
You’ll find your own roar
As my heart wrote more, it took an empowering turn. All of a sudden, I was ironically encouraging Nicholas to find his inner-lion.
So roar my lion,
Roar loud and roar strong
I’m proud of you, lion
I’m proud of your song
Sing, my sweet lion,
That song that is yours
Be kind, my sweet lion
Kindness opens all doors
As I finished this “ode,” I was in sobs. And to punish my emotions even more, I re-read it about 50 times. After some time and tears, I concluded I was not the only crazy sentimental mom out there, so I sought to publish my tribute to him, honoring all our children making transitional milestones of babyhood to youth.
Thanks to lovely artwork from his preschool teacher, my vision came to life, and so birthed Sing My Sweet Lion, aimed at instilling in children unconditional love and confidence. We all have the power to welcome a little lion into our heart.
When push comes to shove, this whole growing up thing is quite bitter sweet. Even though I want Nicholas (and all my boys) to stop growing, I sure love watching them blossom.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.