Tuesday, September 11, 2007

All Grown Up

I was at my desk this afternoon, reading a very sweet blog written by mother about her young daughter and the drama of entering kindergarten.

I remember taking my oldest to kindergarten. I write letters to my kids on their birthdays- they haven’t seen them yet, it’s something I’ll give them when their’ 18 and they’ll look at me like I’m nuts. But this is what I wrote on Ben’s birthday when he had just started school:

"Kindergarten has started. You are a great fan of your new teacher, Mrs. Dickerson, quite shy around her, but you love her very much. You walked into school the first day, calmly looked around, sat down at the play dough table and started to work, chatting with the kids there. Your mother and I started to cry, loving your independence; sad for our loss of the little baby you had grown out of being. We hung around the in the hallway for a while, finding it hard to leave. You had started kindergarten. And as the days went on, you were going in, meeting people, and making great friends. You are your own guy. "

Well, that sweet little just turned six year old just came clomping through the front door with size nine men’s high-tops, baggy shorts to his knees and a super sized cup of hot chocolate from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Because that’s where they all go to “hang” after school.

He now chats on the phone with his friends and there is no play dough in sight. Just an open palm looking for real dough, can he please have his allowance?

It’s no longer a heart wrenching experience when he walks out the door. I want to know where are you going? When will you be back? Who are you going to see?

Then I have to go all parental controlling bitch and say, no, not that long. You need to do your homework first. Did you take the trash out like I asked?

Ben is as tall as Jeanine now. He will be twelve in a few weeks. I am shocked by how heavy he is and yet still skinny, jealous of the amount of food he can eat. His feet are enormous, something that upsets him deeply.

Is there a medicine I can take to make them stop growing? He asked me the other day after the size nine’s were purchased.

No. Your feet will be the right size for your height…eventually. It all evens out. Promise.

He looked at my feet.

You have big feet. That means I’ll have big feet.

I nodded. Yes, I do. It’s true. I am tall. Goes with the territory.

Then I waited for the eventual overall critique of my clothing, shoes, hairstyle and required weight loss number thinking to myself… when is he going to realize big feet is a GOOD thing for guys?

I remember those first weeks of kindergarten when he would walk in with his best pal and they would hold hands walking down the hallway. How we would both walk him in, stand at his locker while he put his things away. We would spend a little time in the classroom almost every day.

Yes, Mrs. Dickerson was a very, very patient kindergarten teacher.

The other boy’s early kindergarten days are not as clear. Maybe I was more ready- Zachary was a year older than the rest of his class, having been held back with an early August birthday, as the teachers recommended. And Jake… well, Jake was the third. I know he was dressed and had shoes on. After that? I’m not sure.

I remember letting go a little. Then a little more. But how did I end up here? With this giant boy standing at the table hand out, looking for money? When did he become old enough to walk the two blocks to the coffee shop to meet his friends?

I have no desire for another baby. I love the ages my kids are now, the independence and especially their ability to put away their own laundry.

But I remember standing in that hallway, tears in my eyes, thinking my baby was all grown up.

Little did I know how many more times I’d watch my baby be all grown up.


Anonymous Diatribal said...

Aw. It makes me all misty-eyed and weepy just thinking about the day that I will be forced to give my sweet girl over to her new teacher.

Beautiful words that seem to lessen the sting of watching a young one grow!

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Believe me, its doesnt get any easier.

The more they grow and "get into things"....the more you'll want to keep them home.

Deb's youngest is 21......he is being deployed to Irag in January........I cant even think that far ahead because I will just cry.....

Hold on to them as long as they let you!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

21 and going to Iraq?

tell him to run. run, and run and run.

I know he won't.

you are so brave at 21.

I'm sorry.

and I can only imagine how proud of him you are.

Back in my day... uh, that would be the Vietnam war, we wore bracelets of MIA and prisoners of war.

Maybe we should start wearing bracelets with the names of soldiers we want home, now.

thank you, laura. you reminded me of something much bigger. something that is easy to lose in the many laundry cycles.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Sigh, you tell the best stories

3:54 PM  

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