There was a day this past year that I had been waiting to pass since almost the day that my son H was born. For Four solid years, I waited for the day of the big test, the test that would give us some finality. A decision about whether H would go to Kindergarten.
I think it’s safe to say that Most parents start feeling a bit of angst when their child reaches the age of four. Four is this big age – toddler-hood is over, preschool has begun and the day that school begins is imminent. School. It’s that big word that invokes in most people images of the school bus, little kids in backpacks, and some old fashioned RRR, mixed with creativity, and well – being Big. It’s that last word – the Big word – that provides the parenthood angst.
Is she really Big enough? Can he handle school? Will he get lost in the crowd? Will she listen to the teacher? Will he make friends? Really the question is – is my Kid really that Big? Am I the parent of a little kid or a Big kid? And really, How did This happen?
It’s safe to say that I remember most every day of H’s childhood. I remember the crying, the kicking phase, the cuddling phase, the digger phase. I remember the waking up in the middle of the night (phase, thankfully). I remember the needing milk 24 hours a day (long) phase, the new to big-brotherhood phase, the spitting his food out after chewing it phase, the not wanting to wear shoes phase (still in that one). And now we’ve reached the learning phase of H’s life. I feel most everyone one of the days of every one of these phases, probably because I’ve had to go through them, every single one of them, with him. Because first it was the being a mom of a kid who wanted milk 24 hours a day phase, and then the being the a mom of the new big-brotherhood phase, and being the mom of the kid who refuses to pick up his toys phase.
So for what I had been anxiously waiting for Four solid years? I knew at the age of four, we would finally have the option to test our little guy to see if he could go to school with all of his peers. Born just seven days past the school deadline, H had always been a part of the crowd just months older than him, kids who were 5 by September 1. I know that H was ready, and that I was ready. I didn’t feel the angst of the parent wondering how we got there. I KNOW how we got there. And we were all ready to move on, more forward, move into the world of Big.
H passed his big Test (that big scary day for which I had waited and waited and waited) with flying colors, and the sweet, friendly teacher who tested him laughed as we sat down on the ittybitty chairs to go over his “results” – “Wow” she said “Your little guy is quite the sponge.” Sponge he was, and sponge he is.
Sure, I haven’t 100% successfully moved into this next phase of motherhood. Yep, while other moms and dads cried on the first day of school, anxious about how it all crept up on them, I rejoiced, smile, laughed with my little guy who jumped onto the bus like he had done it a thousand times (with one last quick security hug, of course). Still, every once in awhile, I question whether he will be able to negotiate the often painful world of friendships (“mom, no one played with me on the playground today. Everyone said no”). I wonder if he’ll ever outgrow his inability to just jump up an and answer the question without raising his hand, or whether he’ll figure out how to properly spell all of the words on his “word wall.”
But every new phase brings new worries, new challenges, new fun. I feel confident that we’ll figure it out. Odd to say, but in the big checklist of life, excited to say – Toddler-hood? Check!