Abigail Cukier, The Amazing Adventures of Wonder(ing) Woman
Some clichés are clichés for a reason. “They grow up so fast” is so true that it hurts.
Yesterday, I took my four-year-old son to his first full day of junior kindergarten.
How can that be?
Didn’t I just find out that I was pregnant? Wasn’t it just yesterday the look of surprise flashed across his face as he realized he was standing on his own?
How can my baby boy be going to school?
His first day happened the day after Labour Day. My husband and I walked him to school, helped him find his hook and the bathroom, met his teacher and watched him colour with his classmates.
After one hour, we left together and I spent the rest of the week playing with him.
That was easy.
Yesterday, was different. I held his hand as we walked to school. “Will I be able to find the bathroom?” He kept asking, focusing all of his anxiety on that one question.
We waited outside for the teacher to call him in. He grew impatient. He didn’t seem anxious any more. When it was time to line up by the door, I gave him a huge hug and five kisses and told him “I love you.”
Then my little boy turned and walked inside. No looking back, no tears, just three feet of enthusiasm.
This was, after all, the same little boy, who when I dropped him off at daycare when he was 13 months old never shed even one tear, not once.
Butterflies filled my stomach and my heart beat loud and fast. I went to work and all I could think about was what he was doing at each moment. Did he find the bathroom like I had promised he would? Could he open his yogurt like we practised? Was his teacher nice? Did he make a friend?
I have been working outside the home since he was 13 months old, other than when I was on maternity leave with my younger daughter. I was used to being away from him. But this day was different. On this day, my stomach churned repeatedly and my missing him was an ache inside me.
Although I was worried about my little boy going to “big school” and how he would fare, it shouldn’t really have been so different from any other day. But it was.
Entering school is a huge milestone. It signifies the move from baby and toddlerhood to being a kid. It’s another reminder of how “they grow up so fast.” It’s not so much that I have a four-year-old, it’s the thoughts of all that will come after and all we’ve left behind.
But now facing his second day, I’ve decided that if he can approach this change with excitement and determination, so can I – I’ll just have to make sure to hold his hand a little tighter each time we walk home.