He hopped out of bed, wearing his little “outer space puppy” pajamas, ran out of his room and said “It’s the first day of kindergarten!”
My 5-year old son, Joey, is ready for his new school and all the new friends he’ll make. But it turns out, I’m not ready.
I had no idea how I would feel about my first born son starting kindergarten. It’s harder than I ever thought it would be. I felt it coming on as we were shopping for school clothes, Then, as I tucked him in the night before, the tears started to well up.
Once I brought him to his little kindergarten class at Sacred Heart Elementary in East Grand Forks, the emotions were overwhelming. I never fully understood why parents cried after they dropped off their kids for the first day of school, but now I know.
I know this is best for Joey, I know he is ready to learn and ready to grow. But when I gave him that final hug, just before I said good-bye, it hit me. My baby boy, my son who has brought me so much joy and happiness, the boy who has been a blessing and helped me to look at the world in a new and different way … that baby boy is growing up.
Being a mom is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, and I’m not in a hurry for it to be over. I love the age he’s at, where mommy is still pretty awesome. And we have so much fun together. I never knew, until I gave birth, that my two favorite people in the world would weigh 25 and 45 pounds. My daughter, Josie, and my son, Joey.
They love unconditionally, enjoy life to the fullest and are untouched by the world and all its negativity. I just wish I could keep it that way, but I know I can’t. So, I just need to focus on enjoying the moment and making it the best day possible for my little boy.
It is an important day in his world. No one ever forgets their first day of kindergarten. And we’ll never get this day back again. So, I wanted to help make it memorable. He awoke to a few “school supply gifts” sitting at his place at the table. He had a new outfit and new “Lightning McQueen” shoes. And once he was done with school, I picked him up and surprised him with some “mommy time.”
Instead of going back to work, I took him out for an ice cream sundae, just the two of us, so he could tell me about his day. He was excited for his first day of school, but he was also a little scared. So, it was a good time for him to share his stories, uninterrupted.
God has taught me an important life lesson recently; enjoy the small moments, live in the moment and “be there and present” for your children. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I can’t stop him from growing up, but I can make sure I enjoy and appreciate every moment and every milestone.
After he finished his sundae, Joey asked me if we could make this a tradition every day after school. I laughed and told him that wouldn’t work. Instead, we agreed to have an “ice cream sundae tradition” each year, after every first day of school. And so, I plan on doing that, for the rest of his school years, including college.
It’s a small thing, but I’m hoping some day my son will look back and realize how much the small things matter. And even more importantly, how much he matters to me.