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. 🙂