Today I went to a place with lots of toys, puzzles, scooters, jungle gyms and books. It has rooms, lockers and bright paintings, and holds so much opportunity for you, yet at the same time a little bit of heartbreak for me.
I was at your to-be-playschool, which I hope you’ll love, because I’m making one of “those decisions” that come with so many inner debates. I think you’re ready for more development and interaction (and Marie biscuits and peanut butter sandwiches), and I think you’ll be pretty cool and happy there. Thing is, you’re cool and happy at home too, and even though I work, home is still a known to me, where I can control things more than I can Out There. I fear the kids who might push you, or the toy you want to play with might not be available, and that makes me sad, but I realise it’s pointless trying to expect and want that I could protect you from all of life’s woes.
I feel you are ready to go – you’re more active and curious, but this change means, well, change, and sometimes that’s hard to get my head around. It also means you’re onto that next phase in life, which is both thrilling and terrifying. I know your “family” at home will miss you for those few hours each day, and you got a whole lot of love here, believe me, even in the form of sloppy Rottweiler kisses.
But as much as I’m scared, I’m a little excited too. I can’t wait to pack your bag, to fill up your locker, and to relish and save every single artwork you produce. There’ll be parties, there’ll be pals, there’ll be picnics, and there’ll probably be a bit of pushing and pinching now and again, but it will be fine. I think. I know.
I hope, as always, that I have the right footing as I stumble along the parenting thing. But instead of lamenting and overthinking, I’m going to do what every good mom does – find the coolest school bag to hang in your locker.
When you were born, I was more overwhelmed by the future than the present, and was totally freaked out by worries of school, your barmitzvah, girls, hormones, who would fetch you from sports practice, what would happen if kids picked on you in school, what if you stopped speaking to us if we didn’t buy you the latest Wii game. The nappies, sleep and burping took care of themselves as I got anxious over stuff whose dates didn’t even appear on my Blackberry they’re so far ahead.
And then I started watching you with more purpose than simply ogling over the most perfect being in the world; I began thinking that babies and kids have got it all right – you’re in The Moment all the time, not regretting milk that was spilt the day before, nor worrying about nappy rash that could crop up next week. And while I know your little brains are built like that for now, I’m still taking it as a lesson to feel whatever needs feeling right now, and to allow it to pass when it’s ready. I’ve read so many self-help and Buddhist books that have this very premise at its core, but nothing hits this point quite like watching you enjoy a strawberry wholly, crying when you bump yourself and then forget about it once you’ve recovered, playing with a spoon as if it was all that existed in the world, or falling asleep immediately with a quiet mind.
So little dude, once again I look and learn from you and try to be present and mindful, and to take the mothering thing one step at a time. This doesn’t mean I’m not considering the future, or saving up for school/university, or starting to put your name down for every school (it’s so hectic out there – I hope we’re not “late” at your age of 15 months!), it just means I’m trying to be a little bit happier right now, rather than being consumed by anxiety over things I don’t really have control over. But hey, I do have control over my weight, and it’s never too early to start getting into good shape for your barmitzvah, right? 😉