I’d bet that today has more posts than any other day on the internet. Every mom with a blog is writing about the first day of school, and every mom without a blog is calling someone up to talk about it, particularly if today is a transitional school day–kindergarten, middle school, high school, college (which already happened for most), or a change in schools. Each academic year presents a new frontier, adding to the layers of experiences that collectively comprise the persona of every child.
My heart is extending warm hugs to the moms I know who are at this moment sniffling over a cup of tea because their first-born has just gotten on the bus for kindergarten, all chubby-cheeked, with a super-heroes lunch box filled with nutritious food he won’t have time to eat. Pictures were taken; parental hands were waved long after anyone could see them from bus window. Now the euphoria is over. The house is alarmingly empty, and a sentimental young mother realizes that she doesn’t have the desire or energy to do anything else today but watch the clock and wait with eager anticipation for her child’s return.
I remember my oldest son’s first week of kindergarten. The days had never dragged by so slowly. But by the second week, I found that 3:00 rolled around pretty fast. I realized then that we had both successfully leaped another of life’s hurdles.
Starting school is always a new frontier for my children, but it is also a new frontier for me as a mom. It tests my ability to adapt and welcome change, even though it scares me. It challenges my faith–do I really believe that God is capable of protecting and growing my children without my supervision? Or have I deluded myself into thinking that my control of every situation is necessary for their survival and success? New frontiers for my children require me to see myself in a different light. I, like them, am in a constant state of growth. If life didn’t push me to into continual metamorphosis, I would stagnate and become the kind of person I don’t want my children to become–afraid, tentative, manipulative, or immobile.
So to my children, I say grow—change–experience life outside my scope of control and influence. You are prepared. And when you struggle, I am right here, with the perspective to guide you because I have not cloistered myself exclusively into your world or mine. I have, through tears, thoroughly enjoyed your new frontiers: kindergartens, middle schools, high schools, college, new teams, neighborhoods, youth groups, friends, sleep-away camps, bus trips, foreign trips. Always, something new is right around the corner.
I’m so proud of you. And I’m a little proud of myself, because my mothering has made you better people, and it’s made me a better person for having done it.
Bon Vogage! Each of your frontiers is a bigger adventure for both of us.
image from www.theguardian.com