August 10, 2016

Mom Thoughts: Little A prepares to start school, and I'm considering taking up day drinking

Today I'm deviating a bit to talk about something that's on my mind: my baby starting school.

I'm usually manageably sentimental about my children. My goal is to raise them to grow up and fly away as fully-functional, well-adjusted adults, and I've always parented with that goal in mind, from the time they were born. There have been missteps, because I'm human, but overall, I feel like we're on the right track.

I shook my head a bit when parents would get teary-eyed over their kindergarteners while I escorted my older son into school his first year. I had a plan, you know. The first week, I walked him to the door. The next week, we parted ways a little further away from the classroom threshold. By the end of the second week, I was dropping off my five year old and he was barely looking back. He was excited and happy. I was patting myself on the back and thinking, "Autonomy! What a grand job I have done encouraging him to be autonomous. 10 points to Gryffindor!"

But now, we've taken steps to make sure that our family is permanently capped at six, and Little A is starting school. School. Kindergarten. My baby. My last child.

I'm a little bit of a mess. Yesterday we registered him and Friday we'll meet his teacher. I'm finding that there's a huge dissonance between my stated goal--raising adults who will be happy to leave me--and my actual emotional response right this moment--more along the lines of "can't I please keep them little just a bit longer."

I've enjoyed the transition between stages. I've loved watching their personalities come in and grow. It's been my pleasure to guard and guide them through the process so far. I'm just not ready for it to be over, and for some reason, this milestone really has me staring down the barrel of the future. Usually I can reorient back to the present pretty easily, but right now...no such luck. It probably doesn't help that my oldest stepdaughter is starting high school, so we're experiencing both ends of the spectrum, all at once.

I'll do the same with Little A as I did with his brother. Maybe it will go even quicker. He's more independent than his brother was at his age. He's got the fierce, "I CAN DO ANYTHING YOU CAN DO," attitude that younger siblings often seem to develop, and he'll have Big A to walk in with him. It's got to be cooler to walk in with your big brother than with your mom, right?

At the least, I've gained a little insight. Once again, I'm reminded that even the best laid parenting plans, even the clearest and most lofty of goals, can get knocked eschew by the reality of watching these amazing little beings grow up.

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