Last night as I tucked my son into bed he looked at me and asked, “Since school is over, how will I see my friends? Will they come to my new school?” I took a deep breath and waited to respond and then said confidently, “I don’t know.” Brock is my first kid and I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m winging just about every part of motherhood and I’m as okay with that as I can be. What I do know is that I don’t want him to feel hurt or miss out on experiences with his friends. I want to do the right things for him, and I always try to keep myself in check to make sure I’m doing “enough.”
Even when nothing ever seems that way.
I think about the possibilities of hanging on. Should I send a note to school with our number and email address so that friends can keep in touch? Should I try to send him to the same camps and activities as all of his friends so that he can continue to foster meaningful friendships at five years old? Too much? Not enough?
Or is it my job to teach him that there is a season and a time for everything? That this part may be ending but a new chapter of his life (and a very exciting one) is beginning. I guess I know it’s my job, but that’s a terrible job when, as a mom, we already know how bittersweet it to accept each stage of life and move forward. How do I teach him closure?
Where has the time gone?
As each of those last days of pre-k ticked by, I would look at my son and wonder where the time has gone. I’d smell his hair as I kiss him goodnight and different memories would flash inside my mind. I remember a curly-haired blonde baby with jack-o-lantern teeth. He was wild and giddy and played by himself but loved to crawl up by his mama and fall asleep. It’s wild to think that much time has passed. Even I can barely let that go.
I think about the progress he’s made through the past couple of years. We weren’t sure he’d talk when he was three. At the time he went to a speech therapist and now he can barely take a breath between sentences and gets in trouble for talking in class. At the time of stressing out about his speech, I was definitely looking forward to the next step but our anxiety does not necessarily match our child’s reality. I had to wait it through, but now that time has passed.
It’s not like my five-year-old is in any sort of fragile emotional state. The same boy waltzes into our bedroom around 8 PM in with his underwear on his head and tell us it’s his superhero hat. And we often hear thumps as he practices his very own potato sack race in his bedroom with the pillowcases from his bed. He has a vivid and amazing imagination And he loves so big. His heart is so full and he tells me daily how much he loves his friends. My heart breaks as we move forward to the next chapter.
A new chapter
I thought about using his imagination to my advantage and literally comparing life to a book. Showing him that there are different parts or chapters in life. There are different characters that each person comes across. For example, Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat are always together but they come across different people along their path. Sometimes they come across the same people again and sometimes they don’t.
I think about my own chapters too. A mom struggling with the basics, showers, sleep, marriage and knowing that so many more things are coming my way. We are constantly forced to look into the face of the ever-changing phases. Sometimes it’s in the lives of ourselves or our kids but it’s also in the lives of our parents. Seeing my mother and father slowly move into the role of retired, relaxed grandparents that spoil my children. What they’ve done has become has been an overwhelming education.
It’s translating this concept of a new chapter to a five-year-old in any way that makes sense that has me scratching my head. The only way I know to help him is to keep working on these transitions myself and knowing that change is the only constant. If I can teach my child to understand and appreciate change, I’ll be giving him a gift for life for sure.