Before I had kids I remember my older cousin and her friends talking with great emotion about the day their first child went to Kindergarten. They were all, in my opinion, over dramatic about a natural step in a child’s life. If anything the child has cause for nervousness, not the mothers for goodness sake. Years later, as I recall those conversations, now a mother myself, I get it. In six months my first “baby” will step on the school bus and ride down the road away from me, and I have mixed emotions.
A few weeks ago my daughter came home from preschool with a registration form for the three-year-old class next year. My son didn’t have a form. The realization that his preschool days are coming to an end felt like a huge punch in the gut.
The following week my kids had their three and five year-old check-ups. After their physical, the doctor asked me if I would like a copy of my son’s immunization records for Kindergarten now or later. I felt my smile drop as my brain processed what she had asked me and sputtered that I would take a copy now.
Last week another form came home from preschool — for my son this time. The form had Kindergarten registration dates on it. It was general and simply listed all the elementary schools in the area with dates and school websites. I had to take a deep breath, but I handled yet another sign of what lies ahead for my son and me.
In my head I was reminding myself that Kindergarten is a positive step forward for him and for me as a stay-at-home-mom who has mothered him closely since the day he was born. Of course I can handle a simple form, I told myself.
Then I turned it over.
My son’s name was listed under the elementary school he’ll attend. His name. It was the last straw before tears started rolling down my cheeks as I thought about how limited our time at home together is before he’ll embark on a new journey — the first major one — without me.
I’ve tried not getting emotional about how our relationship will change. We’ve even talked about it together a few times, but I’ve consciously had to work hard to stay on an even keel for him. I don’t want to put my mixed feelings on him. I want to make myself emotionally available to him when he has excitement or angst about Kindergarten, just six months away.
I plan to make these next six months together special. As important as it is for me to continually take care of myself, I know that second to that is embracing my time as a stay-at-home mom. I must stay present with each passing day. In turn, I am trying to organize my life in a way that allows me to fulfill my own needs while being the best mom to him from now until the end of August.
I’ll have to reshuffle the deck the day my first child goes to Kindergarten and continue “being the best mom to him” then, too, but it’ll be a different kind of mom than I am now.
I hope I’ll be ready.