To My Schoolboy

Posted by savannahkase on September 3, 2018 in Lessons From Little Ones, Parenting, Personal |

To My Dear First Born,

Off you go!

It sounds cliché to say it seems like just yesterday that you slept in my arms, but it really is incredible how quickly you have turned into a young man. I know you are nervous about starting kindergarten today, even though you put on a brave face most of the time. To tell you the truth, I am pretty nervous about you starting kindergarten, too. Your sensitivity is one of the traits I most treasure in you, but I know your feelings will be hurt – if not this first day, then tomorrow or the next day. Nine straight hours of people and noise will also challenge your introvert’s need for quiet. Then there is the simple fact that you have struggled with learning letters and numbers, and will be behind some (hopefully not most) of your classmates.

I wish I could protect you from the cutting words, chaotic atmosphere, unfair expectations, and anything else that will trouble you at school. When I put you on the bus this morning, I wanted to run behind it to watch you get off so I’d know you made it to your classroom okay. It will take all my willpower not to drive by the playground at lunch time, as my mom used to do, just to see that you have someone to play with and look like you are having fun.

Brave faces

Yet I know this is a journey you must make on your own. Although it is less than a mile away, your school is your world and I may never know all that goes on there. I feel powerless to protect you; I can only hope that your dad and I have given you the inner strength you need to take care of yourself. And of course, we will be waiting for you at the bus stop with open arms, ears, and hearts. My wish for us is that you embrace this new chapter in your life with confidence and courage, and tell your dad and me about any challenges you encounter so that we can support your efforts to overcome them.

My mom still recounts how she cried on my first day of kindergarten. As a kid, I interpreted this anecdote as evidence that my mom didn’t want me to grow up. Now as a mother, I understand that my mom’s tears were not just about me getting older, or even because she would miss spending time with me, although I am sure both were true. Rather, it is physically painful to send my child off into a building full of other children, where strangers will influence him in ways I may never know. As the school bus pulled away with you, my first born, on board, I wondered if I should have packed some tissues in your backpack, or if I was the only one with a lump in my throat.  I am frantically sending you telepathic messages that you can do this, that I love and believe in you, and that I’ve got your back.

There goes my life …

Growing up, I always loved school, especially the first day. School supplies still in their packaging, new friends to be made, lots of interesting things to learn and fun to be had. I want to give you this excitement, to carry in your heart as you step into this adventure, but it’s hard when I feel so much trepidation. My mom urged me to be strong, and not let you see my fear. But I want you to know that it is okay to be a little scared, that I love you for that, not in spite of it. There can be no courage without fear. You are a brave boy because you can articulate the full range of emotions you are feeling as you step out on your own. This may be the first such step, but it will not be the last. I can no longer hold you in my arms, but I will hold you in my thoughts even more than usual today and cannot wait to meet the slightly older and wiser you who steps off that school bus this afternoon.


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