Well, I finally did it. I feel it’s important to add that I didn’t cry and even managed a smile. Last week, I filled out and submitted the registration paperwork for my baby to start Kindergarten. In August, I will be snapping pictures of my baby all dressed for his first day of school, donning brand-new sneakers that will not look so shiny at the end of the day, and a backpack that is not the stuffed-animal looking bear one that he uses right now.
His big boy backpack will be filled with crayons, paper and folders for homework <gasp> instead of stuffed animals and Hot Wheels. He will be wide-eyed and excited for his new adventure, and I’ll either be at work, or taking the day off to nurse my emotional wounds with a pint (or half gallon?) of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Some days I want to say, “Can I button your shirt for you? I know you can do it yourself, but why not let mommy do it for old time’s sake?” I’d like to think this is somewhat normal, although in reality it’s probably a huge warning sign that I need professional help. I comfort myself with the fact that I haven’t asked him to wear a diaper for “old time’s sake” – because that would just be wrong, wouldn’t it? (I’m semi-conscious of the idea that wanting to do stuff for him that he can do himself so I feel needed is just as unfair to him.)
He will never know how much I struggle to step back and let him go. Since the moment he was born, I’ve been raising him to not need me. I’ve known this in the back of my mind all along, but distracted myself from it as I changed his diapers, taught him to feed and dress himself and bandaged his scrapes. When he shied away from independence, hiding behind my legs, I gave him pep talks, patched him up and sent him back into life – all while resisting my urge to keep him hugged tight and protected.
I’ve managed to let him go little by little his entire life. I pray for the strength to do it again gracefully (and tearlessly) in August. After all, a little big boy should have his mind on his new adventure, not whether there will be any ice cream left in the house when he gets home 🙂
Speaking of ice cream, I have a special treat in store for Wednesday’s post – a guest. I will keep you in suspense until then, but on Wednesday, this person will post here and I will post on their blog. This person suggested that we both write a blog post with the title, “But Everyone Else Is Doing It.” I agreed it would be a fun idea to see where we each take the topic, so please, check out both posts and let us know what you think!