I always swore I would be one of those moms doing cartwheels over my newfound freedom when my first-born child started kindergarten, but now I understand why tears are the ritual for so many moms this time of year.
Every time I think about my baby boy starting kindergarten, I go into denial. He’s the one who baptized me (by fire) into motherhood. The idea that his every waking moment won’t be under my care is distressing, to say the least.
My kid just recently mastered the art of making it to the toilet every time before it is too late, and he’s still confused about when to cross the street and when to wait. Sending my boy to school is going to be hard. It’s going to take everything I am to let him go.
What happens when the kids and teachers around him don’t love him the way I love him? What if the kids find him annoying? What if the teachers tag him as this year’s problem child?
I now know that childbirth is only the first moment that tests the courage and determination of mothers; it’s the beginning of a long line of days when we stand up to fears we’ve never felt before.
I can’t stop this train from coming but I don’t know if I’m ready for my heart to walk off with a backpack and pencil in hand. But I know by letting go I am finding my own courage.
As he grows and faces his goliaths, I will face them right along with him. In his challenges, I grow too. My ability to tackle hard things will increase until one day I will no longer have to wait in the car for my baby boy to get safely onto his next journey.
We have to be strong enough to let them live in the world–which is just as nerve-racking as those nine months leading up to their birth day. If he can do it, I can too.
Summer Blackhurst is a mother of a two-year-old girl, three-year-old boy and five-year-old boy. She blogs about parenting, dabbles in photography and is tired 85% of the day.