I said goodbye last week to Red’s pre-school teacher who has been an amazing force behind his transformation from a 3 ½ year old little boy, to kindergarten-ready five year old.
It was such a sweet and sad-ish moment, which is exactly how I feel about the impending first day of kindergarten.
This was his first day of preschool 2 years ago – what seems like just yesterday. Look at that baby face!
Some people don’t understand that sending my first born off to kindergarten is a pretty big deal. It’s a day full of emotion, and butterflies, and happiness, mixed with a twinge of heartache on my part, as I prepare for officially leaving the baby years behind. I mentioned today that he is growing up too fast, and a well-meaning (childless) colleague said, well, you have another one that is still little. Yes, I do, and of course I enjoy watching the little one grow, and experience all of the fun phases that he will develop over time…but it’s the memories of how Red did it in his own unique little way, that make me reminiscent.
I welcome the “school-age” phase and all that it has to offer, and I greet it with lots of smiles and excitement for his sake. I am looking forward to watching him blossom in a new environment, and make new friends, some of which I hope will be lifelong. That’s the beauty of this part of his life. It is the beginning of a new social realm where he will come into his own. We will begin to really see his originality grow, and we’ll get to share all of his greatness with new people who will mold him, and cheer him on, and help him excel at the things he does best, while strengthening his shortcomings so he can flourish.
Red is so enthusiastic. Recently, he has been requesting (every night) that we read the book It’s Hard to Be Five, by Jaime Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell. (Big thanks Grammy and Poppy – we really love this book!!!)
It is written from a five year old boy’s perspective who says:
“School seems so scary. School seems so strange. I’m only five. My whole world’s going to change.”
I asked Red if he was excited or nervous about starting kindergarten as we laid in his bed reading, all snuggly before lights out. It is supposed to be quiet time. When he answered my question, he grabbed my face looked right in my eyes, and in his crazy, silly way, he started shaking me and said
He’s excited. That’s Red.
I’m glad he isn’t nervous or afraid. He is sometimes shy with grown-ups, but with kids? No way! If he was feeling even a little apprehensive, it would be so much harder for ME.
The bus is one of the hardest parts of this whole progression. Unlike kindergarten, where there is an orientation, and we meet the principle, and the teachers, and the nurse, and are slowly transitioned into what he will experience and who he will be surrounded by day-to-day, on the bus, we are basically handing him off to a total stranger who will be responsible for transporting him to school every day.
He won’t be driven around by only me or Mike anymore.
He won’t be under our thumb.
HE WON’T BE WEARING A SEATBELT!
Why do they LOVE this part of it so much??? I’ll tell you why – for all of the reasons above.
Red can be very influential – and LOVES to make people laugh. Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing, because he is a very cute and funny kid! But, sometimes he is influenced. He gets “the sillies” at inappropriate times, and gets in trouble for it at school.
Who will his friends be? Who will he gravitate toward? He is a boisterous one, no doubt about that, and extremely endearing, and a charmer, and I love him for all of these traits…
And whoever he picks out of the crowd to play with, I hope they are nice to him.
And I hope he is accepted.
I hope his sense of humor is appreciated.
Aren’t these things we all wish for our children?
What about the fresh kids? We all know they exist. The bad influences…they are out there. May he steer clear, and never BE one of them!!! They are the instigators, the blamers, the bullies, the swearers (YES, cursing – I’m talking BAD swears that no kid should even know!!!) We’ve seen and heard it for ourselves within our own neighborhood.
I know Red is harmless, but again, we are now entering the NEW. And who knows what others might think… However, I am vowing right here and now, that when it comes to judgments by others, I will take most of it with a grain of salt. Only Mike and I know who Red is in his heart, as well as who we are as parents. I hope he keeps his outgoing, fearless, confidence. He doesn’t seem to care (or notice) what others might be thinking about him, good or bad. I hope he is brave enough to challenge the status quo, and march to the beat of his own drum. But for now it doesn’t matter, because he has already told me that he wants “the same light-up sneakers that ‘Jason’ has.” So, until it changes…we’ll watch him blend. And that’s ok too.
Forever, for both of my boys, I will always be their biggest fan. I will always be their advocate. I will always show my brave face when they are feeling anxious. And I will always love them no matter what. But that doesn’t mean my maternal worry won’t creep in as they inevitably grow up and face new chapters that will continue to shape their sweet personalities.
Because Red is my first, I get lumpy-throated just thinking about his first day which is around the corner. But I know that what comes with it are fun, vibrant, cheerful, colorful, happy experiences that he is about to create and enjoy and share with us, along with all of the other fun-loving five year olds. I can’t wait for new pieces of art to adorn our kitchen walls, which make it the happiest place in our home. I can’t wait to witness the creative thinking he will master, and the enthusiasm that he gets when he is learning something brand new, and how his eyes light up and sparkle when he explains all the stuff he knows…These are the things that reassure me that all of his growing-up just brings more of the good stuff that I get to be a part of as his mom.
There are amazing new roads ahead, and of course there will be some obstacles, which are all part of the journey. I just want to be sure we give him solid footing to navigate the path that suits him best. And if it takes “light-up sneakers” (…just like Jason’s) to light the way…by all means, kid. They are yours.