It's back to school time for many of us with children...or those of us still in school. While I still have one more year before my child enters the institution we call the educational system we did enroll him in preschool through our local school district and today was his first day at his new school. Last night he reminded me what it used to be like that night before the first day of school. At 10:30 when I headed to bed I passed his room and noticed he was lying in bed still wide awake. This morning he was up at the crack of dawn. So much excitement paired with so much nervousness. Driving to his new school this morning you would have thought it was me that was going to a new school. I probably had just as many butterflies in my stomach as he did...if not more. All those same things I used to worry about as a kid I worried about again, but this time for him. Will he find a friend to talk to? Will he have someone to sit with at lunch? Will he ask to go to the bathroom if he needs to? Will he be okay in this new environment without the children he's been with since he started daycare at the age of 4 months? But you know what? He did just fine. And so did I. I actually made it through the morning without crying. There was a time or two I felt the tears coming, like when he took my hand as we were walking into the building and when he looked so grown up hanging his new backpack and new lunch box in his locker and when I saw another mother crying, but I made it.
Several weeks ago while talking about this upcoming transition with B I wanted to be sure he knew he had permission to be a little scared of all of it. I told him that sometimes when we make changes like this one it can be a little scary. He gave me a puzzled look and asked, "What's scary about it mom?" It was then I realized then that sometimes as parents it's more about our fears than their fears. While I certainly want him to know fear is natural and normal there are times I'm the one who actually invites the fear into the situation. In this case he didn't even realize this was something that might be scary. I was the one who was scared about it.
We will now have a new morning routine. There will be lunches to make in the evenings and posters to make when it's his turn to be star of the week. There will be holiday vacations to prepare for and new friends to get to know. And there will be the drop off and pick up schedules to coordinate in as much detail as possible because this happens to be one of my biggest fears. I was afraid the school wouldn't let me walk B into his classroom every morning to make sure he actually made it to where he belonged. You see when I was his age my mom dropped me off at preschool one morning and because we were late and I was too embarrassed to walk into the classroom I decided to walk home instead of going to class. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember standing at the door, seeing the kids playing and thinking there is no way I was going to walk in and have everyone turn and look at me. So I walked home. Isn't it funny the things we're afraid of sometimes. Fear is definitely an interesting emotion. I had no fear of walking home alone and waiting by myself for one of my parents to get home from work but I was scared to death of the other kids seeing me walk in late. My fears for B were relieved today when I found out I would indeed be able to walk him into his class each morning. I will know he didn't decide to walk home by himself the way I did.
For those of you starting a new school year with your children congratulations and best wishes for a wonderful new year filled with fun events, tons of memories, and lots and lots of learning. Today I celebrate life's changes with you.