The Start of Kindergarten

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Gavin starts Kindergarten tomorrow, and I am unsure. (How’s he feeling? He doesn’t have his own blog, so unfortunately, you only get my perspective on this whole thing. Hahaha. Kidding, kidding. I am honestly not sure how he’s feeling. I have been talking to him about it, giving pep talks, etc., but he’s remained pretty quiet about the whole thing, save for a few questions here and there. I interpret this to mean he’s processing it all and still trying to figure out going to Kindergarten means for his day-to-day life. He’s a quiet kid like that – and takes very much after his father in this way.)

I am sure today is just one of a number of days in my life where I will pause and realize – “holy nuggets, my son is growing up”. Right now, this day feels like it will be the hardest of all those “realization” days. Of course, I know in my head it won’t be – I still have to send him to high school, college, etc. But, today, my heart feels otherwise. Sending him to Kindergarten feels like a really big deal to me – it is a definitive point in time where he becomes a boy vs. a pre-schooler. Kenny and I have already been talking about how he’s into new and different things lately (Legos, sports, bikes / any type of ride-on thing / video games). He even looks older – he’s reached that stage where he’s all boy with flashes of “baby” coming through – and those flashes of “baby” are pretty much only when he sleeps. He also has boy hands. He no longer has those pudgy little pre-schooler hands that are a dead giveaway that one is not yet in school.

So, I feel unsure. About so many things. At random points during my momming, I’ve asked myself what my kids will need to live a fulfilling life. The answers vary depending on what’s happening at that point in time  – but it’s usually a good mix of the following. Most of all, I want them to feel happy and safe and confident as often as possible. I want them to find things they love to do and do them as much as they can. I want them to be themselves and stand up for themselves and each other. I want them to be kind to others – always. This extends to all living creatures. I want them to cheer for the champions, but recognize the underdogs and encourage them, too. I want them to have a conscience and realize right from wrong and make the best choice. I want them to be brave when situations require them to be. I want them to know when to go all in.  I want them to know when to walk away.  I want them to own who they are – embrace it and not change their souls for anybody. I want them to try their very best every day, so that they can sleep easy every night. At the same time, I want them to be easy going and roll with the punches so they experience new possibilities that may never have occurred to them. I want them to love their family and friends. Hard. And I want them to let loose and have (reasonable) fun as often as possible.

This morning, Kenny and the kids are sleeping in, and I have been reflecting on how I’ve parented and questioning everything I have ever done to guide this boy. (Should be pretty rich when they come downstairs to my bloodshot eyes and tear-streaked cheeks. I am in a race against the clock to get this done before they wake and catch this mush-fest I have going on down here.)

Here’s a sampling – a very small sampling – of what’s been running through my head for the past few days:

  • Did I teach him what to do when he’s in a situation that he knows is bad / makes him uncomfortable / doesn’t want to be in?
  • Did I teach him to be courteous and does he know his manners well enough that “hello”, “goodbye”, “please” and “thank you” roll off his tongue like air comes out of his nose?
  • Did I teach him to figure out who he is and to decide that it’s OK to be him vs. trying to keep up with those around him?
  • Does he chew with his mouth closed?
  • Will he use his napkin instead of his shirt / shorts?
  • Will he hold the door for the next person behind him?
  • Does he know what to do in a multiple-user bathroom by himself?
  • Does he know that he can tell Kenny and I anything? That we are always here to listen and help him through things? That telling the truth – even if it’s bad – is better than lying?

Aaaaah. So much to think about. And I know this is only the very, very beginning. Only time will tell how we’re doing with parenting him. My favorite part about being a mom so far is seeing little flashes of goodness break through – when they don’t know I am watching them. For me, that’s a sign that we’re doing all right.

As for his first day of Kindergarten tomorrow? I know two things for sure: 1) he is loved. Very much. and 2) he has people rooting for him – me, Kenny, Grace, and a whole slew of people back East wanting him to do well. I think that’s enough to get him through tomorrow. We can keep working on the rest. 🙂

 

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  1. Ruth Dungan MacMullan

    Bridget, , I loved this blog. I can clearly remember Michael’s first day of kindergarten. It was a very special day for me. I took a vacation day to make sure I could both drop him and pick him up from his new school. Something very unusual and memorable (for me) happened that day (too long to share here). Anyway, your blog brought back a lot of memories. It is hard to believe that it was so long ago, that my little boy and his wife are now expecting their first baby and are closer to experiencing the first day of kindergarten than they know.

    Hope you, Kenny and your children are doing well. Enjoy tomorrow.

    September 3rd, 2012 // Reply
  2. Nancy Gallagher

    Bridget, from what I can see you and Kenny are wonderful parents and I am sure you are teaching your children all the important things they need to know. And don’t worry if you forget to actually teach them some things because they are observant and are learning from your example all the time as well. (and that’s a good thing) I was always pleasantly surprised when someone told me how polite one of my kids were. I didn’t always see that at home:). Ha ha. Gavin and Grace are so adorable and I love following your family on your blog and in pictures:)

    September 3rd, 2012 // Reply
    • goingwestcoastal

      Aw, thanks so much, Aunt Nancy! It’s definitely true that they will pick up things on their own – great point. Let’s hope they are the right things – lol!

      I, too, appreciate when someone comments on my children’s good behavior when we’re out. I take that as a good sign something’s sinking in – lol. It’s a good thing when they are nice and polite without us around!

      September 5th, 2012 // Reply
  3. goingwestcoastal

    Hi Ruth – I love that you can clearly picture Michael’s first day of school. I hope I remember Gavin’s, too. That’s awesome that Michael’s having a baby – I don’t think I heard that. Congratulations – you are going to have so much fun. I am *pretty sure* my mom loves being a grandmom. 😉

    September 5th, 2012 // Reply

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