If you happen to live in a box, you are well aware that it is back to school time. If you live in the northeast, you know that this week started the flow of back to school photos dominating your newsfeeds. You’ve probably seen articles about what to expect as kids transition, parents either lamenting over their kids entering school or celebrating about them returning, and all sorts of emotional posts about how kids grow up to fast and “where or where does the time go?” photo captions. But here on this blog, I’m going to spare you. I’m not going to continue under the guise that it’s not about back to school. So, read on knowing full that I’m not about to reinvent the wheel and know what you are getting yourself into.
My oldest started kindergarten today. I know, right? He was basically just born and was hanging out in all his chubby, cloth diapered glory, and yet here we are anyway.
I want to be clear about something; I am ridiculously excited for him. He has been waiting years to ride the bus and has such a yearning for information that I know kindergarten is going to be an amazing experience for him. I am not sad at all (okay, minimally sad) about him “growing up”. I quite enjoy watching my kids conquer new things as they get older, more capable and more independent. What I’m currently grieving is the loss of my son. He will now be gone for eight out of the twelve hours a day that he will be awake. Two-thirds of his awake time he will now be spending with someone else! That’s 66% of when he isn’t snoozing. No matter how you cut it, it’s a lot. I imagine that this is akin to what working parents experience, and I can now attest that it’s not fun at all.
I keep stumbling upon new adventures and think to myself, “oooh! Carson is going to love that! I’ll had it to the calendar!”, followed quickly be, “oh right. He won’t be able to go. He has school.” I am incredibly sad about losing out on fun adventures with him and being a part of his world. I would love nothing more than to opt into sending him to school for four days a week and keeping him to myself for one. Not only would it benefit me, but I truly believe that so much learning takes place outside of a classroom and I know that I can provide him with experiences that he can’t get at school.
Disclaimer: homeschooling is in no way, shape, or form feasible for us. I have zero patience on a good day, lack execution, and know absolutely nothing about history or geography.
With all the sadness I have right now, I am also genuinely excited to see what this school year brings for my daughter and me. For several months leading up to my daughter’s birth, I was experiencing a similar sense of loss to what I am now. I cried about thinking I was ruining my son’s life by giving him a sibling and I felt guilty that I was taking away the Mommy-Carson days we had every single day and that I would no longer be completely present with my little boy. While some of those have certainly been legitimate concerns, I think that it has panned out fairly well. My attention has since shifted to the fact that my daughter never got any of that one-on-one time with me and has always just been along for the ride. With my son in school, I can finally have time with her! She starts preschool next week, but that still leaves us with three days a week for just the two of us, and I could not be more excited. We started off our personal adventures with going someplace of her choice today, where she was able to stare at a turtle for twenty-five minutes without me ushering her along as her brother wandered to the next exhibit. Also, the turtle’s name was Ima; Ima Boxturtle. The hilarity of it was enough to make my day.
This school year is going to bring a lot of firsts, a lot of trials, and a lot of growing pains, but the year will also be accompanied by triumphs, growth, learning, and expanding wings. My daughter has asked me approximately two hundred and fifteen times today where Carson is and when he will be getting home, and I am alongside her eagerly waiting for the bus to bring him home, so I can hear all about the world that he gets to have to himself.
I may not have everyday as a Mommy-Carson day anymore, but he gets to have his own space now and I get to relish in the moments that I’m the one he comes home to and wants to shares everything with. And like he always tells me, he’ll get bigger, but he’ll always be my little boy.