We are about to embark on a big journey into the world of kindergarten. A world without naps. A world of freedom, choice, and new learnings.
As I get the school notices and calendars, I realize how sheltered my little man has been for the past five years. The same daycare. Spending his days in a room that only changed every 6-12 months. Familiar teachers. Stringent routine.
As I watched the graduation night slide show, I recognized how hard I tried to give him freedom within that shelter for those five years. He was safe and secure, free from most judgement and criticism. Free to be Jake. I saw him wearing PJs on days where all the kids were dressed for Valentine’s day. Rubber rain boots on sunny, hot days. Cowboy boots with shorts. Buzz Lightyear costumes on a random Tuesday. It was Jake. And as much as my working put constraints on his schedules and days, he was free to be who he wanted every day.
I recognize things will have to change as he enters kindergarten. No more costumes on a random Tuesday. Seasonally appropriate clothes. I recognize that on the few days I let him break out of this norm he may get teased and it breaks my heart.
And so it goes. I send my little man, the one who likes to play with kids who (in his words) “are really good everyday and have excellent days for the teachers”, the one who still sucks his thumb when he’s uncertain, and curls up on mama’s lap for comfort…I send my little man out into the real world.
As much as I thought I was thrusting him into the real world when I went back to work at 8 weeks, leaving him in the care of people I barely knew, I realize now, that wasn’t really the case. And so the big step happens now. He will be fine. In fact, he will thrive in an educational environment.
Me, on the other hand, I may just need a little extra help to make the leap.