The End. The Beginning. September 6th, 2012
I make it sound so foreboding, don’t I? I don’t mean to. Honestly, I shouldn’t. The thing that awaits him tomorrow? It’s his first day of school, which, when you get right down to it is one of the most wonderful things that will ever happen to him. It will open the doors to learning and friendships and adventures of all stripes. Truly, I am excited for him. He is excited. We are all excited.
With each rite of passage, though, we leave something behind. In this case it’s the very last vestige of his babyhood, and that (at least for me) is not without some sadness. No longer will he play in his pajamas while I get ready for work. No longer will he get to look at Nanny when she arrives and proclaim, “I want to go to the Science Center today,” (as he did just yesterday). And most of all, no longer will each day be his blank slate to fill with nearly anything of his choosing. It is the end of something.
It is also the beginning of something. Starting school is a happy occasion. It is also a privilege. But there will likely come a day when it will be a chore; when IEP will long to stay home in his pajamas doing the 7th grade equivalent of spending the morning playing with his toy trains. When that day does come I will think back on this time in his life, on how unencumbered it was by responsibility or obligation. And perhaps there will be a day here and there when I indulge him. Perhaps there will be a day here and there when I try to recreate for him the joys and freedoms of being three years old.
This morning was like most others. There was breakfast in the sunroom. There was a long walk with the boys in the double jogger and the dogs on either side. There was the instruction that it is IEP’s “very important job” to make sure that his bed is made and that he is dressed before Nanny gets here. It’s a routine we’ve been practicing for weeks in preparation for this very moment. We are ready. But even though we’re ready – or more adroitly, even though he is ready – I am not entirely ready. That, though, is the tricky, slippery, unwieldy thing about raising kids. They continue growing up whether we’re ready or not. I’m still a relatively green parent, but I’d be willing to wager that I’ll never be entirely ready, and that each new phase will come accompanied by a silent internal chorus of, “But I’m not ready yet!” I will sing the chorus to myself over and over and over, and it won’t change a thing.
IEP hasn’t been a baby for some time now. Starting tomorrow I won’t be able to fool even myself anymore.