Where did 1460 days go? I have been full time mom for 4 years and my little one starts preschool soon. I’m pretty sure I’m the one who’s going to be a mess that day; my husband might have to fish me out of a puddle.
I didn’t quite expect my son to be so enthusiastic about school. He picked out his back to school supplies and requests the book, ‘Curious George’s First Day of School’ every night.
Of course, I am absolutely thrilled about his big day, but I didn’t anticipate having such conflicting emotions about it. A part of me is having the ‘empty nest’ feeling already (I dread when he will start college) and part of me is feeling a little wistful, that I might not be missed or needed as much.
It probably seems terribly selfish and dramatic (It’s not ALL about you, Deepa). I can hear my logical sister’s voice in my head, ‘What is wrong with you? You finally have time to do something for yourself, like enjoy a decent meal without shoving it into your mouth, you might as well be eating newspaper. Watch a TV show or read a book that does not involve Dora!’ Is this normal, parental separation anxiety?
As I watch him sleeping peacefully in his bed, I wonder if I spent enough time with him while he was at home with me.
Did I teach him enough?
Did I show him enough love and patience?
Did I prepare him for the big, beautiful, scary world outside?
Am I ready to let him spread his little wings?
I feel a twinge of guilt as I think of all the times I didn’t pay attention to him or became impatient when he wanted to play dinosaurs with me while I was busy with something, often involving a sharp instrument. Which in hind sight, may not have been that important; chopping onions has never been a matter of life or death anyway. I could beat myself up to a pulp, analyzing all the moments I might have failed him. Or I could choose to look through every single picture of him and savor all those wonderful memories. Making scrambled eggs together, doing yoga poses with our cat, dancing to Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’ on repeat and slurping on unhygienic, overpriced Mister Softee ice cream at Juniper Valley park in NYC… Those are the days I want to reminisce while I watch him walk to his classroom.
He’s passing a milestone, which for the most part, will continue for the next decade or so. It’s going to be a haze of school activities, making space on my fridge for his art work, soccer practice and boo boos- the ones on skinned knees and the ones of the heart, which only a mother can make better. Oddly enough, I’m kind of looking forward to it.
I will have to come to terms with the fact that I have to share him and that’s OK. But for now, I’m going to arm myself with Kleenex and my camera. My husband, who knows me all too well, suggested I channel my blues into scrapbooking all the the memories I’ve captured of my son.
When I look back at that one picture of him, with a lunch box and a grin, the first day of the start of a new phase of his life, every single memory of those 1460 days are going to come rushing back… and the pride I felt when I saw my little preschooler take his first step into the great big unknown.
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting, So … get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!