The night before Kindergarten started I made my son a friendship bracelet. A colorful rainbow of threads that held a small cardboard cutout of Yoda in the middle and attached it to his brand new backpack. It sat in it’s new home, a wicker basket, just waiting for the morning. The bracelet, made in an effort to tie the small child’s heart to mine and to decrease the anxiety I was feeling as my firstborn son was going off to school.
I looked forward to Kindergarten as a huge milestone that I could measure as a success of good parenting. We waited until he was almost 6 to put him in school, in an effort to be sure that his mind, body, and spirit were ready to embark on this new endeavor.
This child, my Spirit Warrior, knows not a stranger. As a baby, strangers often would stop and speak to him, to us, and mention the beauty of his eyes and the “oldness” of his soul. He is cautious physically, but emotionally he’s vulnerable, loving, and open. I was comforted by these things as I tied the friendship bracelet onto his backpack.
I didn’t realize that when he went off to school that first day that my need for control was so fierce. I found that I missed him, but when he was coming home he was a different Spirited Warrior. A stronger Spirited Warrior. One that could no longer nap, even when remarkably exhausted. He was not interested in “mama time” and words like “I’m bored!” came out of his mouth. He stopped asking to do art projects at home and would ask for playdates instead. He became less into the magical thinking and needed to tell me when things were pretend or real. He talked less and less about God and the angels, and even refused to say prayers at night.
Although I know most of this is expected and normal, the mama in me misses my sweet boy. The mama in me, misses having control over our daily activities. I miss him wanting to be with me. I miss him squealing for joy when he found out it was a “mommy day”.
I am seeing now that this growing up part, this beginning of school, this changing of my son, is really a place for a mama to set her over-protective self to the side and breathe. It is a time that is ordained in every mother’s life to either let go a little more or panic and tie ropes or um…even a friendship bracelet around my boy.
I didn’t cry the day he went off to Kindergarten. But I’ve cried quite a bit since that day, as I watch my little boy need me less and less, listen to me less and less. His Warrior Spirit tests my courage and patience, but I am realizing now that that is what he was brought here to do. Exactly that. And for that, I will continue to cry when my words fail and my heart is jumbled with not knowing what is normal for boys in kindergarten and what is worth correcting. I will try though, to remember that this is just a time for the mama to stop, breathe, let go a little more, and know this too, shall pass.