*written two weeks ago, but just now posting. because, life.*
Just this past Monday, my little baby boy started first grade. No longer in home school, but at a public school. Full of other children, teachers, lunch ladies, librarians and crossing guards. And in a moment's time he was no longer my baby boy. Still my child, but now a child of the world too. And this world is beautiful and hard, kind and not so kind, accepting and judgmental, full of love and full of spite. For the first time, he was leaving my side to join the world as an active participant without my constant guidance and words of encouragement. And my heart... oh my heart. This mama heart was sinking to my stomach under the weight of it all. I fretted for weeks, months really... And on Sunday night, I took his peanut butter sandwich, cut it into the shape of two brontosauruses (just the way he likes) and packed it into his Spiderman lunchbox. My husband watched me do this and it was obvious by the look on his face that he already knew the answer, but he asked THE question anyway. Those three little words that manage to bulldoze right through that feeble wall that was already bowing under the weight of the sea behind it.
"Are you okay?"
And the flood gates broke. How could I drop him off tomorrow? With his big heart and tender soul, and just offer him up this great big world that would surely crush his spirit as it swallowed him whole? Jon hugged me and chuckled gently as he assured me that our boy would do just fine, BETTER than fine, in fact. I wanted to believe, but a mother's heart is a complex thing. This old heart longs to protect him from the hurt in this world despite the knowledge my head holds that he was made to live in this world with all its beauty and all its mess, and it is his time to begin writing his own story. But reason rarely holds sway in a mama's heart.
Somehow, I left him in the classroom that next morning. With what was almost certainly a painfully awkward smile pasted to my face. And as I walked away, I kept looking over my shoulder to see that he was okay. I don't think he even saw me leave--a desk covered with brightly colored papers & markers and surrounded by new friends to meet. He seemed so confident, so ready to start writing that story of independence. his story.
I suppressed the urge to "just drive by his school" at least three times that day. And said about ten times that amount of prayers. As 2 pm finally rolled around, I excitedly buckled Cora into her car seat all the while mentally preparing myself for whatever Sam's emotional condition might be upon our arrival. He walked through the front doors of his school that afternoon, face beaming and proclaimed that it had been "the best day of my life!". I cried then too. From relief, from happiness, and well, just because that's what mamas do.
And everyday I still pray that these other people, the kids, the teachers, the lunch ladies, the librarians, the crossing guards... that they all see how special he is. That they all see his tender heart and choose to fill it with kindness. That he leaves each day feeling loved and valued. That he doesn't have to learn quite yet just how hard this world can be. Let him continue believing that he can do anything, be anything, accomplish anything, that good always wins and love is always the answer. Isn't this every mother's prayer?
But I don't say all this to him. No, instead I walk him up to those big glass doors each morning, give him a hug and whisper in his ear, "I love you! Be kind & work hard. Have a great day, I'll see you this afternoon!". And then I let him go.