Last week, my son graduated from kindergarten. As I sat and watched a precious kindergarten graduation ceremony, complete with caps, gowns and my tears, I couldn’t help but think of his first day of kindergarten. The crying, blubbering mess that I was. I missed him so much; I worried about him every minute. The thought of my son needing me and not being there broke my heart. And then the year passed in the blink of an eye, and everything I had hoped for my 5 and then 6-year-old came true.
He learned so much. We had struggles and triumphs, and I’m convinced his mama learned as much as he did. Here’re the top 3 lessons I learned from my son’s first year in kindergarten.
It was hard to burst our little Mother’s Day out, full-time mama bubble. I was there for nearly everything. For the first 5 years of my son’s existence, I got to experience his life alongside him. And I LOVED it.
What I didn’t know was how much I would love my new position. Instead of being his full-time partner, I was promoted to his confidant. I am the one he tells all his stories to, I am the one he looks forward to sharing his day with. The excitement he has sharing his life with me is special in a whole new way and it feels more permanent. As our littles are growing up, you know you can’t be with them every second for the rest of their lives so the short time you do feels temporary, but I hope to always be one of his favorite confidants.
Letting Him Soar
I thought I would be the parent that had to constantly work on pulling back, resisting the urge to smother my children with love, affection, and direction. As it turns out, kindergarten taught me I was right and wrong. I definitely still smother my children with love and affection. But, surprisingly, most of what happens at school, I leave up to my son to address.
I love to hear his stories, they bring me both joy and sadness. I get to hear what kids and teachers say, how he interprets situations and how he responds. I have listened as he works out what to do, what to say, when to react and when not to. I was shocked I didn’t have to bite my tongue very often. I have discovered it is my natural tendency to give him the opportunity to problem solve on his own and he’s actually very mature and reasonable. I have loved getting out of his way so he has room to soar.
A Year From Now
Kindergarten taught me to prioritize our time. I learned to ask myself in all things, “Will this matter a year or five years from now?” I felt like the days were endless with the early mornings, busy schedule and practically living out of the car. The homework, dinner, bath and bedtime hustle was exhausting. So when my kids wanted to play a game at bedtime, I had to ask myself what was more important. A year from now, the memory of a happy mama who would play a late-night game would matter. Candyland and giggles at bedtime would shape their heart for me for many years to come, but going to bed 15 minutes later would not.
The struggle to learn to read will not matter three years from now because eventually, my son will learn to read. But how we handle the challenge will translate into a life lesson that can be applied to many of life’s challenges. Asking myself what will matter a year from now has given me perspective.
When my son started kinder, I didn’t know what I would do with myself. He had been the center of my life for five years. I couldn’t fathom how we would be away from one another all day every day. But as much as I missed him and as much as I am soaking him in every day this summer, it turns out kindergarten was pretty good for us. As my son would say, kindergarten was pretty awesome and it may have just made me a better mama. ❤️