It’s hard to believe kindergarten graduation is already upon us. While it won’t be your first graduation (that was for pre-K!), or last, when a grade level turns from names to numbers, it’s a big step. This evening, I’m doing that “emotional mom” thing. Frankly, I am considering giving the box of tissues next to me co-writing credits for this post.
At the risk of sounding cliché, it feels like yesterday I was handed all 6 pounds, 8 ounces of you in the middle of a stormy night. I look at you and can still see a yogurt-covered toddler learning to use a spoon. I relive when we caught you nonchalantly take your first steps across the living room. Sometimes I can still hear the little voice who would tell me to “raise the roof” during kitchen dance parties. The moment that you excitedly held your little brother for the first time continues to replay in my memory.
You don’t fit so perfectly in my lap when we read these days. Now you sit beside me and have become the reader. Weren’t you just learning your ABC’s? Now, Dad and I are learning (the hard way) that we can no longer spell words we don’t want you to figure out.
We once got excited for your first words and sentences. Now you express your own thoughts, feelings and insightful questions with an eloquence beyond your years.
The time of me picking you up with any sort of ease is gone. Today you are tall, growing strong and looking forward to your first hockey season on a team this coming fall. The subtle baby features of your face are gone and have been replaced by those of a boy.
I know this is just the beginning and kindergarten is just a stepping stone. We are continually amazed by how much you have learned and grown this past year. Kindergarten graduation is the wake-up call that I can’t keep you little forever. Nor do I want to.
The single most exhilarating and rewarding part of my life has been watching you grow up. Your victories feel like my victories. Each day you do or say something that makes me say “wow.”
To put it simply, I am in awe of you, and the person you’re becoming.
This excitement is a double-edged sword though. Sometimes I long for the days when you were smaller and things seemed simpler. I still look back fondly on the days where I could keep you safe, days where we would snuggle for hours on end, days where it felt like just you and me (and Dad) against the world.
I look at you though and know that you have to grow up. As your mother, I am here to see you from diapers and bottles up through college degrees and first apartments. I am here to support you and help provide the tools to help you evolve into your own person. You have express your independence. You need to be you.
And I know it’s for the best, even if it’s hard for me to let go of the past. Now I need to embrace the present and look toward the future.
Tonight you might be on the precipice of first grade, but you are still, and always will be, my baby boy. So, for now, I’ll joyfully take every hug and kiss you still want to give me. I’ll treasure the days where you say “I love you” to me in front of your friends without hesitation or self consciousness. I will be grateful for when you still want to tell me about your day. Because I know these days will not last forever, just as the baby and toddler days before it. Soon enough you will morph into a brooding teenager who won’t likely find me relatable, forgetting I was a brooding teenager once too.
All of your firsts have been my firsts. Perhaps that is why your impending graduation is so emotional for me. I, too, am about to close one chapter and look to the next. I am so glad I get to do this with you, my first born, my forever baby. You are so very smart and strong-willed and kind. There is no doubt in my mind what an amazing human being you are growing up to be, and I cannot wait to see where life takes you.