While sitting in my son’s Pre-k school parking lot after dropping him off on his first day (no, I haven’t left yet), I am struck with so many emotions. Pride of seeing my two-year-old walk in with zero fear and a HUGE smile, all while tears well up behind my sunglasses. I am in a state of shock that my baby is leaving me. Even if it is only for four hours, two days a week, for this mom who hasn’t spent more than a few hours apart in the last two years, it feels like an eternity.
We wish for our children to be independent, to try new things and one day thrive in this world without depending on us. We beg them to stop calling us into their room (for the millionth time) when they should be sleeping, to learn to put on their own clothes, and to play independently…but when it happens, when they really start to show those signs of growing up, that realization can sneak up when you aren’t expecting it and hit you at your core.
From Mama to Mom
My name has recently changed from “Mama” to “Mom”. No one told my son to do this and although unnoticeable to many, to me it’s like a cosmic shift of my son growing up. I want to freeze time and go back to him asking me for help, asking for one more “goodnight”, to needing me, back to mama.
I think it’s the constant juxtaposition of desires and emotions to make time go faster, but also stop, that makes this ride of parenthood a true rollercoaster. There are no dull moments, no stagnant place of waiting for something new to happen. Although it may feel like the stage you are in (especially the hard ones) are never-ending, under the surface it’s always changing and inching up the next hill.
One of my favorite poems “The Last Time” so eloquently puts it, “You won’t even know it’s the last time until there are no more times, and even then, it will take you a while to realize”. Early on, you think you can prepare to be a parent, to read all the books and take all the classes, but these little people throw you for loops that you never expected and I guess maybe that’s the fun of it all. To be part of this journey with them, teaching them, learning from them, and growing with them.
And if you are wondering…yes, I’m still sitting in the school parking lot. I hope one day I’m able to leave after he walks into the building but right now this is just something else I’m just not ready for. And I think that’s ok.