My first baby is starting kindergarten soon. A fact that has been weighing heavily on me since we went and registered him. That moment our eyes first met, when he was placed on my chest feels, like a lifetime ago and yesterday all at the same time. So many times through the last 5 years, in our still quiet moments together, I have closed my eyes and done my best to commit that moment to the deepest parts of my memory bank … how he feels sleeping against my chest, in my arms looking up at me, in my lap reading a book. I go into his room after he’s asleep and marvel at how big he is, how much he’s learned, how I could possibly love something so much.
I know once he enters that kindergarten classroom, it begins. We are officially in a new phase.
We will begin measuring each year of his life by what grade he is in. I do have memories of my own childhood before kindergarten, but that seems to be about the time my memories really forming strongly in my mind. I can remember being in a classroom and having to make choices between right and wrong. Going to school and having my own little life outside of that of my parents and siblings. I’m confident our boy will do great. He’s an awesome kid. He’s smart and silly. He finds a joy in helping others. I know it’s time, but it’s hard.
Tonight we were at the pool and he was waiting in line for the diving board with kids double and triple his age. He seemed so big and so small all at the same time. When it was his turn to jump, he searches me out. He makes sure I’m watching. He smiles the biggest grin at me, and we give each other the thumbs up. It’s a small thing, but one I try not to take for granted. I know there’s a day in the not distant future when he won’t care if I’m watching or not. Then a day will come when maybe he hopes I’m not even there and he can hang out with his friends alone.
We have a secret handshake. Every night when I put him to bed, we make a plan on where we want to meet for a dream date. He freely and unprovoked gives me hugs and kisses. He still has the sweetest innocence about him. He’s my first baby. He’s taught me as much about motherhood as I’ve taught him about growing up. I am incredibly excited for him to start his new journey at big kid school and will continue to encourage him in everything he does. But inside my heart will be aching a little.
So for now, while it lasts, I will do my best to savor every hug, to praise every twist jump into the pool, and to fiercely love that boy more than he could ever know.