I could see it coming, and I knew it would come faster than I expected: the bend; the change; the new season. Wasn’t it jut a heartbeat ago that I was walking this path with my son?
Recently, I dropped my son, my youngest child, at Kindy for his first day. It was a defining moment I often talked about when my children were very young.
“It will be great when they are all in school!” I often thought in a sleep deprived haze.
It happened. When I walked out the door this particular day, I was alone.
I love being by myself, and I have plenty to keep me occupied, but there was a slight sadness, and an unsettling feeling, deep inside my chest.
I wonder: Have I done enough to prepare him?
I think: Will our relationship change? Be less special?
I grieve: Because a sweet stage has past.
My son, he settled well into his new role at Kindy. Much better than I expected. He is learning new things and making new friends.
This one afternoon, I walked the usual path to the kindergarten, opening the two child proof gates that stood between me and the front door. I pushed the door and looked around for his bright face.
“MUM!” He always runs and gives me a hug along with a beaming smile.
“Come,” he said simply. It was said as a statement, rather than a question or command.
I walked over to where the teacher was standing. She had something in her hand.
“He asked me to ‘Keep it safe.’ He has worked very hard on this.” the teacher said.
I can’t define his proud gait or his wide smile to you. I’ll just say it reduced me to my knees. Literally.
As I crouched down in front of my son, I lowered my head and felt small hands lower the creation over my neck. This was one of those moments I wanted to capture and keep forever in a sweet clear bottle with a silver lid and blue polka dot ribbon.
My son spent a few moments adjusting the necklace, to make sure all the beads were sitting right. Then, he stood back and looked at me, as if assessing the competition of the job at hand.
The teacher’s voice made me glance up for a moment.
“He couldn’t believe it when I said he could take the necklace home for you, ‘Really? I can take it home?’ he said. He has been holding on to it all day.”
“Son, I love it! Thank you so much.” He was too excited for a kiss.
I am determined move with the stages; to let go what has past; to embrace all is to be. It’s not always automatic or easy for me; it has to be a concious thing.
I allow myself to grieve, and feel sad.
I decide to feel excited at my new freedom.
I don’t hold onto the mum-is-hero cape for longer than its time.
I celebrate each new feat of independence in my children.
I cried as I drove the familiar road to pick up my other children from school. Son was in the back seat and didn’t see my tears. I cried because I was happy. I cried because my heart was deeply touched. I cried because there is something incredible about the slow process of letting go and the wonder of when your children still choose your company; choose to share themselves with you. I don’t want to take that for granted, even in the smallest forms, like the excitement in a necklace made for me.
I’ve worn the necklace a few times now, just with my regular clothes. I see it as a celebration of my son’s step to independence. I see it as a connection between Kindy and home. I see it as an expression of love.