I've had Jacob home and (mostly) to myself for four years now. For different reasons we didn't start him in preschool last fall: mainly, I wasn't ready to commit to that when he was still only two-and-a-half. However.... as he approached his four year mark, I noticed that we were butting heads a lot more. I can see that he is in that zone where he wants more independence but also craves me because it's what is comfortable and known. As much as I'd like to (some days) cradle him next to me forever and always be able to kiss his soft cheeks and have him think I'm the best person in the world, I also know that that will make a delusional person. And it wouldn't be good him, either.
So, we went back to one of the schools we visited before and have been going through the steps of having him start. Soon. Yes, it gives me heart palpitations at times. It makes me: sad, happy, lonely, excited, nervous and free all at once. As much as the transition into motherhood has its bumps and emotions, so does this part, the beginning of his journey away from me.
That might sound a bit down to some, completely freeing to others. To me, it's another of life's moments that catches me in the present. He is my one child who I have helped care for and guide for four years. Now, he will be entering into a world away from me for a span of time that will start small but get progressively longer. It's sad to me because this represents all the realities that come with having a child: growing up and away, not fitting on your lap anymore or even wanting to, having scratchy bearded cheeks to kiss and guy hugs that are more of a pat on the back than an enveloping. It reminds me that, even though he will always be my "baby", he won't always be my baby.
At the same time, I am excited to see him feel more confident in his own independence, within himself and without me. He is such a full being, and I hope to see that always supported. I do view my role as a parent as one to guide and support my child as who he is and help him be a happy, fulfilled person in this world. So, this is part of that journey, a beginning of letting go.
And with that letting go comes a return of parts of me. Parts that have had to (and still will a lot of the time) be put on the back burner. Even though this schooling with only be a short amount of time, it will still be time sans child and that has been a very rare and special thing, too, in these last four years. How very opposite, and yet connected, both sides of the coin are, eh? I am looking forward to the time to write, mostly, maybe do a few errands when the novelty has worn off (ha!) or I'm procrastinating. Truly, though, I will experience this time for all that it is: the sad, the happy and the in-between.