“Remember when you were inside of me?”
He gives me a look, deciding whether or not to indulge my nostalgia or run off and play. He tries to play it cool, but the twinkle in his eyes betrays how much he loves this.
“It’s was just a minute ago!” Indulging me wins out and he repeats the phrase I say so often as he climbs into my lap, contorting his body to fit into that place where just a minute ago he lived.
The pile of paperwork they gave us at our kindergarten screening has been sitting on the counter for the last week, and I finally sat down yesterday to delve through it. I poured through the lists of school supplies to bring and activities to do over the summer to prepare him (don’t they realize it’s the parents who need to prepare, not the children?). I read and re-read the brochure detailing the nitty gritty of what to expect, the reminders about what snacks to bring, and what time school starts.
And then, like a punch in the gut: “Throughout the year we will write and illustrate many class books. The children really enjoy creating and reading their own books using their imagination, experiences, and knowledge. Sharing these books gives you the opportunity to know what has been happening in our classroom.”
With those words “gives you the opportunity to know what has been happening in our classroom,” reality sinks in and the tears began to fall. It’s been hitting me in waves since we decided not to redshirt him, a decision that I did not take lightly. I’m losing him. I don’t want to be given the opportunity to know what is going on in my son’s life, I want to know. I want to be there, seeing what he is doing, seeing him.
We thought long and hard about holding him back a year. “He’s a May baby,” I cited. “He’s small and so intense. He needs more time to mature.” And that was all true. It was the crux of my desire to keep him home a year longer. But in my heart of hearts I knew there was another reason as well. He’ll be ours for one more year. I wasn’t ready to share. I wanted one more year of snuggling together in bed in the mornings. Of long lazy days exploring playgrounds and adventuring. One more year of him crawling onto my lap in the middle of the day, of naps with his siblings. And, twelve years down the road? One extra year before he leaves us for college, for good. Call me selfish, but that was an appealing thought.
For the past five years, he has been mine. I shared him a little. With my husband, with grandparents, with the occasional sitter. But it was me who knew the ins and outs of his day, of his life. What he ate, when he slept, if he was happy; I keep close tabs on these things.
But in September, for seven hours a day, five days a week, he will be someone else’s. I feel unreasonably jealous of his kindergarten teacher and the time they will spend together. She will have as many of his waking hours as I will, and I will rely on emails and parent teacher conferences for the details of his life at school. I know how exciting this new stage will be. I know that he will learn and grow in ways that will amaze and astound me. I know that I can’t stop time. But still. The pill isn’t easy to swallow.
“Remember when you were inside of me? It was just a minute ago! I would put my hand on my belly and feel you kick and squirm and move. I could even feel you hiccup. I sat in this chair and I spent hours imagining what you would be like, who you would be. You lived inside of me and I couldn’t wait for you to come out. I felt like the luckiest mama in the world. I couldn’t wait to meet you.”
It’s time kiddo. I have to learn to share. The world gets to meet you now, they have no idea how lucky they are.