For months now I’ve been completely convinced that I’m fine, FINE with Grey going to Kindergarten. In fact, I believe he probably should’ve gone LAST fall! He’s academically fine! He’s socially developmentally appropriate! He’s tall! He’s maturing fast! He covered all over his body with markers yesterday and declared he was Battle Boy while jumping on his brother’s bed! I imagined myself trundling him down to South School, instead of the YMCA, cursing the parking situation there and going on about my day. Nooooo problem.
But then I got engaged in all the work of actually moving your child from one stage to another. I wrote a signed and dated letter to his preschool, telling them that his final day as a preschooler would be June 20th. Then he becomes a Summer Camper. I’ve gotten two letters from the school – official logo emblazoned on the top of a cheap photocopy – telling me when and where I need to report myself for training. Friday morning, I need to be at South School where they will tell me what’s what. A few weeks later, it’s Grey’s turn. (Note to school district: one week is very scant notice for telling me I need to be somewhere at 9 am. Also, the duration of the orientation would have been useful information. I get the feeling I had better get used to jumping when I’m told to jump.)
I’m glad, though, because I do wonder. Although Grey’s been going to “school” for two years now, of the “pre” variety, it’s a very forgiving environment. There’s no starting bell — you show up when you show up. You can take your kid out for a day or a week because Grandma’s in town, or you’re going on vacation, or you feel like it. How will our lives react to a whole additional set of immobile, nonnegotiable timelines? Will I still have to not pack peanuts in the lunches? (There was a like a blessed two weeks when no one in his class had a peanut allergy. Sigh.) Will he want to get the school lunches? How will he react to being the littlest kid in the school? Will he hate having to sit politely all day? Will his teacher see his reading as a problem or an opportunity? What if he hates it?
One of the hardest parts of being a parent is giving up on being everything to your child. I can’t, won’t know everything about what it is like for my son to go to Kindergarten. That will only become more true in second grade, fourth grade, seventh grade, eleventh grade. When he’s a man grown, I’ll be lucky if I read about his life in his blog posts. (Hi mom!) That is the right and good way for children to grow. But it’s hard to give up, to relinquish.
At nearly every stage of my sons’ lives (note the nearly, there. Exceptions exist), I have wished I could hold them as right where they are – perfect. I remember wishing that when Grey was 3 months old. But now, I would not have him be a 3 month old again for the world. I like him quite well as a five year old, thankyouverymuch. I can only guess, predict, that this will continue to be true as they grow up.