Last night I went to an open house at the school where we’d like to send Gryffin next year. The blurb on the school’s website said the event was for “Parents of Prospective Students Only,” which I mistakenly interpreted to mean, “Don’t bring your kids.” It actually just meant that the event was not open to the general public. EVERYONE brought their kids with them. But we are apparently quite daft and so decided that Jason should stay home with the boys and I would go on my own.
I walked down two long hallways on my way to the auditorium and I swear I was the only person there without a kid and a spouse in tow. Everybody was with somebody and I felt sort of awkward and weirdly lonely standing with all these prospective parents and families. I really wished that Jason and the boys had come with me. I listened to the principal’s brief spiel and then she said, “Go ahead and walk through the school. We’ve got several classrooms open and the teachers are available to answer any questions that you might have.”
As I made my way back out into the hallway, alone in the slowly shuffling crowd, I tried to imagine Gryffin walking these halls next year. And to my complete embarrassment, I started crying. Kind of hard, actually. Just for a minute. I was thinking of him being gone all day at school, walking around in this huuuuuuuge building, navigating friendships and school work and who to sit with in the cafeteria and it all just felt like too much.
My mom always wanted what was in my best interest. When I graduated from high school and started packing up that summer for college, I knew that she was having a hard time with it. I was her baby, after all, and the last one to fly the coop. But she also seemed so excited for me to go, so genuinely eager to see me spread my wings. She knew that it would be a good thing for me and when I would express my doubt and my fear about the uncharted territory ahead, she would say, “YOU are ready, Nance. This is going to be GREAT. You can do this.” Now I know what that cost her. Now I know how much it must have pained her to gently nudge me forward like that.
I want to feel that way about Gryffin going to Kindergarten. I really do. I want to want what is best for him and to give him that same nudge when the time comes, even if it brings me great pain. But I don’t feel capable of it. Not yet anyway. Mostly I just feel sad. I feel like a profound and beautiful period of my life is ending. Isaiah will be following Gryffin to Kindergarten in just one year and with his 4th birthday right around the bend, it’s feeling more and more like these early childhood years are coming to a close.
It’s strange, really. There were so many days during the last 5 years when I longed for some independence, some freedom, some chance to use the bathroom by myself, and now, quite suddenly it seems, it’s looming on the horizon. I know that good things are around the bend for all of us. But today I’m just feeling unbearably sad. I’m remembering days now gone with my boys and hoping that, like my own mama, I’ll find the strength when the time comes to help my sweet fellas fly away from me.