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Sunday, September 14, 2014

this time next year: fears about the big K

So "this time next year" is a phrase I find myself saying over and over the last few weeks.

I keep seeing photos of fresh Kindergarteners in their cute outfits and way too big backpacks.

I keep imagining my own son, 4 1/2 years old now, wearing a cute outfit next year and me taking a zillion pictures.

I see busses everywhere. Now, I work in a school so that's not abnormal. But since mid-August, the sight of a bus has sent me into this inner panic. I picture my son on that bus, without a seat belt (I'm sorry, I just cannot get over the no seat belt thing with busses!). I picture him getting into trouble or someone bugging him. I picture him forgetting his stop and me not knowing where he is. That whole bus thing kinda scares me.

The whole thing is a bit frightening I'll admit. The idea of him, my baby, heading out into a world that's unknown, where he'll be surrounded by teachers who may not get that he's loud and has so much energy he cannot sit still in a seat all day long. Where he'll be engaging with kids who perhaps don't have great upbringings and are allowed to swear or treat people not how they want to be treated, or where he'll maybe be in a class of best friends one year and then separated from them the next year and find himself miserable. I even worry about what he'll eat, if he'll be the one getting 3 ice creams or only eating the good parts of the meal instead of the whole meal.

The whole thing scares me!

I work in a school. I know the positives, the best parts, the socialization, the fun assemblies and field trips. I know the bus rides aren't terrible. Yet I know there are some yucky things, too. Things like the words "school shootings" that I wish I could ignore and pretend won't ever happen here, but as a mom those words terrify me.

I am afraid of him getting lost... not only off the bus or on some field trip without me, but in the classroom he attends every day. I'm afraid he won't be noticed, or maybe he'll be the one who can't stop talking, raising his hand so much the teacher says, "Anyone else have something to say?"

My son LOVES learning right now. He loves it. I don't want that to ever change.

He also LOVES me, his mom. He runs up to me every single day after preschool, huge grin on his face, cannot wait to tell me what he drew or the artwork he's taking home that afternoon. He doesn't care if his friends are there watching, he's all about his momma. I live for this moment all day at work.

And yet I work with middle schoolers. I know what's coming... the eye rolls and the "I'm going to pretend she did not just ask me to give her a hug before school" looks on their faces. Sure, middle school sounds far away from Kindergarten, but it's all relative. It's all out there, once you take that first bus ride.

So "this time next year" can just stay where it is... a year away. I'm not ready. I probably won't be ready next year either, but I'll force myself to smile and be excited for my son, the big growing boy that he is, ready to take on the world and learn everything he can. I'll do that for him because I know it's right. But also because I KNOW, for sure, that it'll be great. It'll be OK. I know that, I really do. There will be hard nights of getting him to do homework. There will be teachers he hates or that we are disappointed with. There will be mishaps with friendships, sports teams that don't go so well, and then tons and tons of successes to celebrate along his academic journey. I know these things to be true.

So we'll enjoy this last year of preschool and rock it like it's a party every afternoon when I pick up my sweet growing boy. I won't take for granted those hugs. I'll know how special they are and will savor them. And I'll keep my fingers crossed this whole year that this time next year my big baby still runs up to me when I pick him up from school, arms open, eyes sparkling, grinning from ear to ear with pride of something cool he learned in school.

I write this for all the moms who sent their babies to school this fall, as well as for those in my camp gearing up for "this time next year." We're all going to survive this. We have to, they are depending on us to be excited for them on this journey. We can do it.

Love this piece below, made me cry!

Happy Kindergarten, Moms!

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