Let's start with the princess. She is heading off to her first year of preschool and could not be happier. After all, she has waited two years for it to be her turn to head to school. This is a pleasant change for me. Sending our oldest off to preschool was hard for me to do. No longer would he be protected by mom, but sent out in a world that may or may not be so kind to him. Luckily, it was the former, and he had a wonderful preschool experience filled with great teachers and friends. Though he was unsure and shy for a great deal of those days, he blossomed into a little boy who no longer faded into the crowd. You could often find him being the leader of some imaginative game.
This experience has given me much more confidence in sending our daughter off to school. Her personality is different than his, however. While he was shy and reserved, she is an outgoing, excited, social little girl. I've seen some times where she stands off a little shyly, but I think she'll do great. She cannot wait to go make new friends and take her turn at school. While our oldest rarely bucks the rule system, little miss spunky may get into a little mischief while off at preschool. In the least, she'll keep everyone on their toes. Time will tell!
Now onto the "K" word. There are several reasons why I am dreading the first day of kindergarten. From a mother's standpoint, it seems unthinkable that my first-born is ready for this transition. Those first years seem to go by slowly but then in a blink of an eye it's time for school. How is that possible? He is more than ready to head off to school (I think!), but am I ready to let him go? What will I do all day without my chatty little baseball fanatic around to educate me on his latest baseball game and keep track of all the trouble his siblings are getting into? What will my little ones think when their big brother is gone all day?
Another reason I am dragging my feet about kindergarten is the stigma that surrounds school these days. It seems like everywhere you turn, you hear about kids being bullied, tormented, and treated poorly. I think most parents would agree that you naturally fear your child will become a target of someone that is not so kind. This seems to start early and I pray that my sweet little boy will not be picked on. He is such a kind, polite, friendly little guy that I hope he is able to stick up for himself if any nastiness comes his way. It is just so sad that we have to worry about these things, especially at the young age of five.
Of course his food allergy is a concern. I know that the school will do all that they can to ensure that he is safe while he is in their care, but it will be hard to not be around to check everything and protect him from any possible harm. Like I mentioned before, I am worried about him being isolated because of it or being picked on because he's different. I think worry may become my middle name!
Maybe to some of you, this sounds a little over-the-top. For me, though, it's the first step in letting go. He's primarily been at home with me for nearly 5 1/2 years and it has been comforting knowing that I could watch over my kids and keep them safe. I will admit that I am hyper-sensitive when it comes to my children and it will break my heart that first day he comes home to tell me about being left out or someone being unkind. When my kids hurt, I hurt. It's just how I am. I know that it's great practice for the real world. I have had my fair share of let-downs, heartbreak, and hurt feelings. Perhaps some of those experiences I had growing up have made me more sensitive about what's to come.
In a perfect world, my little guy would be liked by all, treated with kindness and fairness all of the time, and succeed at everything he puts his mind to. In reality, I know this is not the case. It will be a learning experience for us all. He will pave the way for the rest of our brood and I'm sure teach us all a few lessons along the way. I'm not sure who will be more nervous that first day of school, me or him. Either way, I will make sure that I send him off with a reassuring smile and hug while saving those tears for the ride home!
Only two weeks until the adventures begin!