And meanwhile for six months now I’ve been functioning in peak emotional roller coaster state and alternate between looking at him like a lost little puppy dog with teary eyes to practically jumping as I squeezed him super hard telling him HOW EXCITED I am and HOW HAPPY I am and how much we LOVE kindergarten. Hyping it up to the extreme. So yeah, everything you’re not supposed to do. I’m pretty sure he’ll need therapy at some point. I started this whole thing off a little wrong. I started talking about kindergarten LAST YEAR. As in way back last November. He was four. I thought I was prepping him. Nope. I was just prepping myself. Verbally. So as the months crawled by, we talked about kindergarten more and more and more and more until finally two months ago some well-meaning stranger looked down at him and mentioned something about him liking kindergarten. “I DON”T KNOW!” Joey said exasperated -and I realized that possibly I had made this into a bigger deal then it probably is.
So I scaled back. On my mother’s advice for the rest of the summer I acted real cool about kindergarten – in front of him. I barely mentioned the bus, or the supplies, or the friends or the fun. I calmly went to more orientations, a kindergarten social, registration day and meet the teacher night. I calmly told him his teacher’s name and very calmly introduced the two. I’m a very excitable person. Everything is exciting. If it’s once inch above lame it’s exciting to me. Joey is just the opposite. He does not gain positive energy off excitement like I do. I have realized that that for Joey, excitement breeds nervousness which breeds stress.
So I’ve been real calm. Real calm.
But here’s the deal. He’s asleep now. And I’m not calm any more. I’m thrilled, I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m sad. I’m basically a nice little fruit basket of an emotional wreck. And it’s kindergarten. It’s not boarding school. It’s not high school. It’s not college in another state. It’s not like he’s getting married. He’s going to kindergarten. But still- it’s a milestone. And milestones are just places that mark the distance along a journey. “Notice-", my stones read as if someone took a chisel to them. Then in tinier letters, “Pay attention. Stop. Pay attention.”
And life is so easy to travel without marking the distance. Without even noticing that time is passing at all. And suddenly there is just a gentle wake, proof that time has been here and has glided by. And your baby girl’s hand now reaches from the corner of your eye to the corner of your smile and holds a spoon and somehow all the bottles are nowhere in the house and blankies have mostly disappeared to boxes, with the first shoes, and small hats and contraction sheets you saved from when you were in hour ten of labor.
“Pay attention,” call the milestones. And I know I will not pass this place on this road again. The beauty and wonder of life is that nothing is ever the same. But to notice the moment allows for gratefulness - and gratitude is a root of joy. My excitement for my children lies in the belief that life is beautiful, and rare and valuable and that good things are ahead. Blessings are ahead. And my sadness is just to say that I have very, very much loved the time that has been.
And I see this milestone out of the corner of my eye, and because it is kindergarten we will not only notice but stop and take pictures. I will snap a picture of the milestone in action. Probably on the front step. In front of the birch tree. Possibly getting on the bus.
But real calm. Real calm like. Because Joey works best in calm. And because it is mostly his milestone.
But let me tell you -after that yellow bus pulls away- I might get pretty excited. Maybe I’ll laugh and cry at the same time because that’s what excited looks like. And growing up is so sad and happy simultaneously. And time whistles in and out of the milestones. Pay attention. And he’ll be on that bus and I’ll be back here and I’ll notice and mark and be thankful for exactly where we are.
|One of my favorite pictures of Joey and myself taken almost three years ago. We were so calm.|