A Beginning and an End
Scrappy started Kindergarten today. Off to his new class, taught by the same sweet teacher who taught his older brother, and with whom I have a wonderful bucket-load of memories going much further back than just 5 years. More like 20 or 25.
I love that sort of continuity.
The boys are tucked into their beds, damp heads smelling of green-apple shampoo. Uniforms are laid out on the floor – I even ironed them, for the sake of the morning photos, just this once.
(I will confess to you that I was crazy enough to iron Scooby’s uniforms all through Kindergarten. I only had one kid. I had the time.I have since come to my senses.)
They loudly protested the earlier bedtime and yet one is already sound asleep.
All day, people have asked me if I were sad, and I feel a little awkward to admit that I am not. I’ll finish this post off with photos tomorrow morning and let you know if the feeling still stands, but right now what I feel is just joy and a deep-seated content. (Update from following morning: no change!) I’m delighted they are moving on to the next stage of life, delighted to leave pre-school behind. I don’t long for another baby; I’m excited to see him learn all the amazing things that Mrs. A is going to stuff into his little noggin this year.
I don’t feel regret or sadness that this stage of life is over. I’m good.
For Scooby’s first six years I wrestled with an impossible see-saw of guilt as a working mother. Guilt that I wasn’t working hard enough, guilt that I wasn’t home enough. Guilt that I missed his class parties, guilt that I had to call in sick twice in two weeks, not because I was sick, but because he was.
For six years I listened as my stay-at-home-friends spoke of play dates and trips to Happy Hollow. They would invite me, out of compassion, but it was harder yet to say no. I loved my job, I loved my career, but I longed to have both my cake and eat it, too. I was cheating my job and cheating myself and cheating my little son. Worst of all, I was cheating my husband.
For six years, I laid awake at night and squirmed in emotional agony and discontent. It was not a happy time.
I’m still a working mother, but life has been juggled and re-organized. I still miss out most of the play-dates, but I’ve found in my closest group of cronies a support system of working and stay-at-home moms alike. Now that I’m in a little tighter and have a few more of these parenting years under my belt, I see that, really, we’re all the same.
We’re all laying awake at night and feeling like failures.
Some days we get it right, some days we get it wrong. Our kids are growing up faster than fast and now I see that, the kids, they’re really all the same, too. Whatever I’m feeling, they feel.
When I’m happy and joyful, they are, too. When I’m anxious and depressed, they are, too.
Like sponges they soak up my discontent. And joy? It’s just as contagious. When they hear my words of gratitude, they jump in with their own.
I don’t regret the way life once was.
I’m so happy to be in the place we’re in.
Finally, if only for today, I’m content.
Now, as I finish placing the last of the photos, I’m teary. Not because I’m sad, but because I’m grateful. Grateful to be free from that discontent whose pain is still fresh despite the time gone by.
Be blessed today, wherever you are, whatever you doing. Savor those first-time moments that, for many, are happening all over the country today. Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t. Be grateful for this moment, for that last goodbye and the very sweetness of the little voice across the room calling:
Just one more hug and kiss, mommy?