My not-so-little-boy started preschool last month.
As someone who has always been quite social and likes to strike up a conversation with people he meets, we have always kind of harbored the notion that he would adjust to school fairly easily…but that was not to be. Like all or most kids going to school for the first time, he has had meltdowns and separation anxiety but things have gotten better since the first week and he is gradually adjusting to the new place and routine. Comforting, right?
Actually not so much! A parent going through new phases of growing up, I have found it very difficult to adjust to this new stage as well, something I had not quite anticipated. As someone who has stayed home with him at all times, it has been sort of a challenge letting him go to a place where I won’t be around to watch his every step and make sure of his needs and well being. Too much coddling one might say and I will not disagree.
This emotional roller coaster of sorts has been a bit overwhelming to deal with. And I have ugly cried it out too. I wonder if other parents in a similar situation have done so or should I be embarrassed! When he first started school, I missed seeing him around. Initially I found myself literally staring at the clock almost every other minute to see how long till my little boy came home and so in spite of having a lot of ‘free time’ on my hands, I found myself doing nothing and instead sitting crippled with an uneasiness I could not explain. And checking every ten minutes his class’s web cam to find out how he was doing was NOT helping in any way. To see him cry his eyes out was almost tore my heart apart and I had to fight hard the urge to just go and pick him up from school, never to send him back again!
While my little guy is steadying his small steps slowly, I am afraid I haven’t progressed much. While I no longer sit staring at the clock and do not check the web cam as often, I still have that tightening feeling in my throat and I still cannot do much. I have this ‘free time’ on my hands which I can use to catch up on things I did not have time for before and I can be more than ‘just-a-mom’ and yet I do nothing! While my child is away exploring new things, expanding his mind and making new friends I am still stuck. I wonder again if this happens or has happened to others in my situation.
This little person that I am so proud of has taken his very tiny first steps towards independence and begun his adventures away from home. His mom, however, has to learn to start all over again to spend time doing things that she likes, things that she has thought about so much when trying to put him to bed for a grueling 45 mins! And now that another little member is about to join the family soon, she better utilize this time getting a gazillion things ready before it is time again to be up every two hours at night, channeling all the energy and love towards that tiny bundle while also finding time to go on silly adventures with the elder one, and making sure he does not feel left out.
While my job now is to show my little man all the love, support and encouragement for this new phase in his life, it is he who is teaching me more. He puts up a brave face in the morning and holds back his tears as long as he possibly can before letting go momentarily and then tries to smile through the tears. I could not be more proud of him. I come back home with a heavy yet content heart and have started, slowly doing things I can do while he is away. It’s taking time but I am getting there! And when it’s time to pick him up from school, it is the best feeling of the day as he rushes to me beaming and we come back home where sanity is restored once again as the music from his guitar, his conversations during his pretend plays and the sound of footsteps running up and down the stairs fill the till-then eerily quiet house.