Here I am. Here we are. Your first day of kindergarten is tomorrow. I spent all summer telling myself I couldn’t wait for this day so you would have more to do, and I would have an easier schedule to fit chores, work, and even some play in. As much as I’d like to celebrate and relish in all the free time I’ll now have since my little baby, wait, I mean my big boy, is headed to kindergarten – I’m more so feeling empty inside with a tinge of guilt.
Did I spend as much time as I wanted to with him?
Did I savor all the precious moments?
Will I regret wishing some of the days away?
Where did the time go?
Maybe I’m not ready to send him off into the world – just yet.
It seems not too long ago, I was looking into his eyes for the first time and stroking his baby soft skin making a promise that I’d always take care of him, and love him unconditionally. I was wearing him on my body and singing him lullabies as he stared up at me in awe. I was laughing uncontrollably at his baby-giggles, and helping him up each time he fell when learning to walk. It feels like just yesterday I cheered him on when he made his first pee-pee in the potty, and every night we cuddled as we read Goodnight Moon together. Now, here I am setting his clothes out, packing his lunch, and preparing him for our first day of kindergarten. Has it really been five years? How did this happen, already?
He attended pre-K last year, so why is this year so difficult for me? Why is this incredible milestone hitting me like a ton of bricks? Maybe because kindergarten is not a choice, it’s mandatory. Maybe it’s the realization I have to share him now, and my influence will soon be one of many. Or, maybe my heart is hurting because I can recall, from my own childhood, that kindergarten is really when your memories start to include more friends, teachers and coaches, when up until now – I was the center of his universe.
On one hand, I want to be excited for my son. I want him to tackle obstacles on his own. I want him to learn from others what I’m unable to teach him. I want him to be independent and have life experiences that don’t always include me – I really do. But on the other hand, I want him to need me forever. I want to keep him in this perpetual state of innocence. I want that look of pride to remain on his face when he hands me a picture he made me – just a little bit longer. I’m not ready to share him. I’m not ready to let him go. I don’t I think I’ll ever be.
We spend our entire childhoods in what seems like an eternity, only to grow older and now find ourselves frantically searching for the brakes. As mothers, we try to savor every beautiful moment of parenting, but too often we get lost in the daily grind. Inevitably, time slips through our fingertips. So tonight on the eve of kindergarten, I will watch my baby sleep just one last time, for tomorrow he will awaken as a big boy. I’ll hold onto this moment for as long as I can and take solace in knowing we made it to this point together. I’ll stare at his perfect little face, hold his chubby little fingers, and remain lying next to him until time forces me – to let go.