Monday, September 05, 2011

Beginning a new chapter...

Besides writing about Nikki I think this is probably one of the hardest posts I have written. I've only just begun and I'm already tearing up. 
Tomorrow is Owen's first day of school. Sort of. Tomorrow we go together for about an hour and then Wednesday he begins. On his own in Kindergarten. This seriously brings me to sobbing tears. My baby is going to school. Everyday. On his own with other kids whose parents I don't know, who aren't my friends and who I may not even like. Which I guess happened last year for preschool but it was a smaller class and only 3 days a week. And he did famously and I was fine and we adjusted. And I know it will (most likely) be a wonderful year. It's just that at the beginning of things I always look at the big picture of it and freak out about how we are going to get through it. It takes me a bit of time to step back and look at it one day at a time. (Or a week and a half since that's how much of the transportation planning we've done thus far!) I worry about how he's going to deal with being immersed in spanish, if he's going to sing the inappropriate songs that he's learned from Morgan (or some choice words from me), how he's going to make new friends (which I really shouldn't worry about) or use the bathroom on his own (if a #2 should occur!). I worry about him being teased or picked on or getting hurt. And I see all of these things at one time and feel so overwhelmed and anxious and wonder if maybe I should just keep him home where he will be safe and loved and protected. I know our job is to raise him to be a grown-up but it just happens so fast. I'm not sure where the last 5 years have gone. Even though it's, for the most part, well documented in photographs and scrapbooks. I feel like we aren't cherishing his childhood days enough. That we need to cram more into each one of them. More meaningful adventures. More games and pretend and legos and always more cuddles. But at the same time the minutia of each day still needs tending to. The laundry and the dishes and work and cleaning up toys. And more and more he's becoming a part of that. So the cherishing is becoming less about putting him at the center of attention and more about including him in what we do everyday. It's hard to raise an only child. And I know I have friends who laugh at that and think it's cake because we only have one child to deal with and discipline and feed and care for. And I suppose there is some truth to that. But there is always the danger of that one child becoming self-centered and selfish. Which is something we don't want at all. And that hardest part of having an only is the overwhelming feelings I have at times when we are doing something for the first and the last time at the same time. Like the first day of kindergarten. I don't get a do-over with a second or third child. I get one chance. And I am often conscious of trying to make those moments perfect. Recording all my thoughts and feelings and observations and taking enough pictures of every little detail. I suppose in some way raising an only child is perfect for me. I only have one to obsess over.
So now that O is finally asleep and I have everything (almost) ready I can try to go to sleep so we are both ready for both of these special days!

But not without leaving you with two of my favorite pictures from our recent SD and MT vacation trip. 

For surviving a summer of daycare Owen got to choose a new toy. He selected a Captain America Mask and Shield. Which he wore on a hike in Custer State Park in SD.
Reviewing his pictures in MT. I love how he's just reclining on that big rock.


Janet said...

Beautifully written, Heather, and as a mom of an only child (and an only child myself) I can totally understand and relate to what you are feeling right now. My advice to you is to keep looking forward, not back, as each age that Owen reaches will bring its own wonderful experiences, and you will grow right along with him. Focus on the beginnings, not the endings, and you will be just fine. (Keep a Kleenex in your pocket anyway... just in case!) Sending hugs from Iowa! :)

Karen said...

Heather, this brought tears to my eyes! I am having some of the same feelings. I wonder if we picked the right school, will Emma make friends, will she share some of the bad words I have taught her:), transportation. I don't think it matters if you have an only or 5 kids, we just want to be there for them and protect them. I am sure Owen is going to do great. This is just the beginning! Bring some kleenex, I know that I am:)