Right before I send my children off to school each year, I feel a sense of dread. Not because I think they will do poorly in school, or be unhappy, but because with each year I sense a loss of connection to what they are doing each day. I know their pulling away and becoming independent free-thinking individuals is what we ultimately want. But, it still stings. Maybe I’m just a control freak, but I HATE not knowing what my children are doing, what makes them smile, or causes them frustration and grief each day.
My oldest is going into eighth grade and he is about to enter the time when being with his friends will seem more important than being with his family. I remember this time well. When I was in eighth grade, I only wanted to be with friends. My parents just didn’t get it. They were boring. And even though I like to think I’m the cool young mom, I know ultimately I am boring in comparison to his friends. It is inevitable.
It seems that just yesterday he was starting Kindergarten. The cliches about time moving so fast, simply do not do it justice. One minute you are teaching your child to tie his shoe laces and the next he is telling you that you are a bad driver (since at 13 they already know everything). Then he starts talking about starting to drive in three years and you get a minor anxiety attack, because you realize it’s true.
I have a message for all parents with young children. Do not rush each milestone. Savor every painstaking moment. Even though your child will always be your “baby,” they won’t always be solely yours. One day they will want to be their own.
AD starts first grade this year and B starts kindergarten. I know their journey into independence is only beginning. But, I am still dealing with my feelings of loss of control, dread, anxiety, fear, and sadness. As much as I may get frustrated or complain, the truth is I enjoy having them with me every day. Yes, the time apart will be healthy and at times I will enjoy the quiet. But, I am still trying to drag out these last couple of days before school begins. I am not going to rush anything. Perhaps it’s the wisdom I have gained from having a teenager, but I am going to savor each and every moment.
I am grateful for having the baby with me because I am not ready to be home without a little one of my own. I still squeeze her every time I take her out of the crib and try to breathe in her baby smell, even though she squirms and kicks to be put down and run. I get heart palpitations when I envision her starting kindergarten because I know she is my last one. And continuing to have babies just to avoid the inevitable really isn’t a logical option (although on days like these I do understand those people we like to judge for continuing to pop little ones out).
If you are worried about staying connected to your children once they start school, check out the PWC Moms website for my recent guest blog, where I offer some suggestions for Building Good Teacher/Provider Relationships.
Are you feeling the anxiety and loss? Is your child becoming his/her own person right before your eyes? Do you have the wisdom of someone who has been there? Please leave a comment or join me at www.Facebook.com/TinyStepsMommy to continue the discussion.