Monday, August 10, 2015

What They Don't Know

This weekend, my youngest who is 5 and my only boy sat on my lap at church facing me. He said, "Mom. Let's nuzzle." This is something we have been doing since he was old enough to sit up unassisted. It mostly consists of nose rubbing, cheek rubbing, face grabbing and other such mushy nonsense. (My husband, incidentally, thought I made up the word nuzzle. Until he read it in a book about a year after I had been saying it.) I thought about how much I enjoy him and how quickly he has grown up and I said to him, "How about if you don't start kindergarten just yet? Maybe you can wait, I don't know, just a few more years." He replied with, "No. I can't wait. I have to go." I tried one more time, "Are you SURE? Cuz I'm not really ready for you to be in kindergarten. Maybe you can wait until you're 8. Or 12. Or 15." He grabbed my cheeks, looked at me very seriously and said, "Mom. I have to go. You have to let me go."

He has been very nervous about starting school and I was surprised that he was so adamant about needing to go. But he is growing up. Whether I like it or not. And the truth of it is that all of my kids are growing up. I seem to be constantly reminded of just how quickly they are getting older and how soon it will be before they are grown and out on their own.

It feels like the first decade of being a mom was such an uphill struggle. I was pushing, pulling, dragging them to the top of a seemingly summit-less mountain. It seemed like the day would never come when I wasn't changing a diaper, being woken up in the night, potty training, feeding, lifting in and out of a car seat. But it did come. Faster than I believed it could. We reached the top of that mountain together and now they are rolling away from me faster than I can run to keep up. 

More than the start of a calendar year, or even their birthdays, the start of school, of a new grade for them, is when I truly realize how fast the time is flying.

They will never know how hard the first day of school is for me. 

They will never know that as nervous and anxious and scared as they are to start that first day, I am a million times more so.

They will never know that when I tell them that everything will be just fine, inside I am all but completely falling apart.

They will never know that every year after I drop them off with a smile and a word of encouragement, I sit in the car and cry. Every. Year.

They will never know that when they aren't sure where a class is or who they will sit by at lunch, I want more than anything to stay with them all day. To walk them to each and every class. And to sit by them at lunch.

They will never know that as sad as they are that the freedom of summer is coming to a close, I am even more sad. Because I didn't have the chance to spend more time with them this summer. Or the last one. Or the one before that.

They will never know that I spend their whole first day at school worrying and apprehensive. Praying that everything goes smoothly for them.

They will never know that I watch the clock the whole day long. Agonizing over when they will be home. Waiting for them to tell me about their first day. Hoping that it is all good news.

They will never know that when they go to school every day I feel like I am sending off a little piece of myself.

They will never know that I have every faith and confidence in them. But I still worry.

They will never know that as much as they love and need me, I love and need them just a little bit more.

They will never really know how hard the first day of school is for me.

But they are growing up. As painful as it is. They have to. And I have to let them go.

1 comment:

  1. You're right. I totally cried. I love the mountain analogy. We spend a decade (and more!) fantasizing about when they will be big enough to do ________ on their own. And then they are. And then we realize just how displaced we feel when they suddenly don't need us for that anymore. But they will always need us just a little, right??