Last week I received the much-anticipated kindergarten class list for my son. With it, a small lump formed in my throat. While I am excited for my son to enter this new world of elementary education, I am also saddened.
Entering kindergarten is another step toward his independence. He’ll be getting on the bus with the “big kids” every morning. And we all know the things we learn on the bus. The bus stops at our house at 8:10 a.m., no longer leaving much time for a lazy story in bed with my son or playtime with his sister in their playroom. It will be straight to business with breakfast and the morning routine.
He will be away from us five days a week. With preschool, I could still pull him out occasionally for a “skip day” to go to a museum or head to the beach. I could dismiss him early for lunch with his grandparents or for a special trip into the city. Last year we had two days a week with nothing scheduled, which allowed for pajama parties and building pillow forts. This year, there will be school vacations and days off here and there, but our schedules will never be as lax.
I am sad for his little sister, too. She has enjoyed having her big brother around so much this summer. They are starting to play together well, and while it isn’t all roses, it is so sweet to listen to them play pirates together in their playroom. The first thing she asks after her nap is, “Where is my brother?” She will be keeping busy with preschool as well, but I am sure she will be missing her partner in crime.
This whole school thing also leaves a huge gap in my life. I significantly cut my hours at my job to become a stay-at-home mom with my little man — over five years ago. My days have been filled with toddler activities, making meals, and playtime. I will sincerely miss them. Don’t get me wrong — I’m looking forward to having nine child-free hours a week. But I also feel guilty about it. Being a mom has become my job, and this new independence for myself is going to be an adjustment. I’m used to getting the “car cart” at the grocery store, lugging a stroller to the mall, and packing snacks for a three-minute errand. The only good news is that I won’t have to share the graham crackers while I am at CVS.
I guess my big worry is that I am no longer needed as much as a mom. They are ready for the next chapter that life brings, and we’re all preparing to embrace it. I just need to let them out from under my grasp and support them. Even if I’m not totally ready.