My children started school this morning. For the past month, I’ve been feeling like I couldn’t wait for school to start. But the time came and I’m sad. I miss them. I miss the noise and the mess. I miss the hugs and the giggles. Hell, I even miss the fighting (only a tiny bit though). They went to school last year. Two days a week for four hours a day. This year…four days a week for six hours a day. I have work to do but I haven’t accomplished much today, truthfully. I’ve done a lot of checking my email and my phone for an urgent “we need you right now!” message. I haven’t gotten that message because everything is fine. But who am I now? It’s so different/weird/scary/bad/good/sad/happy/sadagain to not have a three-year-old and a four-year-old right under my feet. Though as my son would say, “I’m about to turn to five.”
My son has food allergies and asthma. He’s the oldest but leaving him is the hardest. I so badly want to protect him from everything bad or hard in the whole world. I can’t, of course, but as he gets older, I want to more and more. Yet, I want to raise a child who can be strong and independent. I want him to stand up for himself and be his own advocate. Standing back sometimes is the hardest thing in the world. He struggles with things sometimes and I feel my hands fluttering toward him just like they did when he was learning to walk and about to fall. I have to let him fall. Gah. This is a hard parenting truth that I deal with on the daily. It’s the same with writing. You do what you can, put hard work and effort in, and then you send your book baby out in the world and see if it falls or flies.
The other day we were at the playground. The day itself was filled with hard and uncomfortable stuff. So was the playground. There were big kids there and one of them was bothering my boy. I’m so proud of boy because he stood up to the big kid. He said “stop you are teasing me.” The boy didn’t stop but being able to stay “stop” is so hard. I’m so glad he’s learning to say it. The truth is that sometimes people stop and sometimes they don’t. At the same time, my heart hurt. I let him handle it and didn’t get involved. Finally, he just removed himself from the situation and did something else.
“Mom, that boy was teasing me,” he said.
I said, “I’m proud of you for telling him to stop.”
“But he didn’t stop.”
“That’s okay. Sometimes they don’t.”
My daughter is very different. She’s shy at first, but independent and strong-willed. She throws herself out into the world. To the world, I say, “watch out! Here she comes!!”
My son and I tiptoe out and peek into the world to see if it’s safe to emerge like a tiny animal coming out of hibernation. It’s funny how different they are from each other.
So if you need me, I’ll be sitting here at my desk not getting much done because I’m busy worrying/crying. I was so anxious yesterday and it occurred to me, “this is only going to happen more frequently.” They are headed off into the world in their own little way and as time goes on, the little way will become a big way. I hope I’m teaching them all the things they need to know.