Embracing a New Season — and Learning to Let Go
“How did we get here?” I thought as I inched the car forward in the school drop-off line early Monday morning.
Wasn’t my son Caleb a small toddler just a minute ago? Glancing in the mirror I saw silver strands in my hair. Yes, time has passed. Some of it not so pleasant.
But there we were. His first day of kindergarten.
He couldn’t contain his excitement. He walked foot over foot across a short wall, carrying his Batman backpack and matching lunchbox to “Big Kids’ School” as he calls it.
We turned around and let Daddy take a picture of the two of us just before we all went inside. We helped Caleb put away his things and walked him to his classroom. “Remember,” I whispered, “Mind your teacher.” We talked about listening and being kind to others.
His teacher took another picture of the three of us. She told him he could play with Play-Doh or read a book until class started. Then it was time for Mom and Dad to leave. “I love you, have a great day,” I told him. He never looked back. “Bye Mommy.”
And, as far as he was concerned, that was that.
Throughout the day I prayed for Caleb and wondered how he was doing. Did he miss me? What was he learning? Was he behaving? No calls from the teacher, so that was a relief.
When I arrived home from work Caleb and Daddy were there. “How was your day?” I asked my boy. “It was good.” That was it. No elaboration, no explanation. “It’s already starting,” I thought. My older boys did the same thing when I asked them how their day was. No talk of what they learned or friends they made. Just “It was good.”
Dropping a child off at kindergarten is nothing compared to dropping them off at college, a colleague told me. Perhaps he’s right. But there is a legitimate sadness at realizing the baby is growing up. That we aren’t quite needed like before. That things will never be the same again. That instead of “Mommy,” I’ll soon be just “Mom.” (Or if I’m really lucky, I’ll get an eyeroll and an “Oh, Mom!”)
A New Season
For everything there is a season, wrote Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3). The preschool season of life has passed. Now it’s a new season. A time for Caleb to learn and grow and make friends. How can I embrace the new season of my life?
For starters, I will accept that I am in a new season of life. All seasons have a beginning and an end. Caleb and his dad and I have just entered into a brand new season — one that’s full of possibilities.
Then, I will keep my mind from wandering, always thinking too far ahead. “What ifs” keep me from enjoying the moment. A year is still just 365 days, even if they seem to pass by at lightning speed.
Finally, I will savor every precious day with my youngest son so I don’t miss “Hey Mommy, look at me” or “Can I help make dinner?” My favorite? When he sits with me in my room and says, “I just want to be with you.” These moments won’t last forever.
Yes, my little one is growing up. Someday he will stand taller than me like his brothers. And perhaps one day his dad and I will drop him off at college. He’ll say, “Bye Mom,” and I’ll be sad. I’ll have to learn to let go again.
But I’ll know it’s just another season.