Well it’s the first full week of school and this is the first time in about ten years that I’ve ever had six hours of continuous, uninterrupted time on a weekday (unless of course I was ill or it was a holiday!). As a self-employed professional and full time mother, I spend my time home with my children embracing every beautiful moment with them. I try to teach them values and create experiences for them that they will cherish for a lifetime because I believe our job as parents is not to smother and dis-able them but to equip them with the abilities to survive a life without us. My baby girl started first grade this year and it’s such a beautiful yet difficult transition for me. She is the type of child who is so loving and so full of energy that she requires 110% of your attention. The love you receive in return is so genuine that you don’t resent the time, however exhausting it can be. Last year she wanted me to walk her to the doorway of the school, give her a hug and kiss, was hesitant about even walking into the school and she was only there for a few hours each day! I volunteered in the classroom a minimum of once a week and there was always a sad face when I left even though I would be back there in half an hour to pick her up from school. Needless to say I was concerned about how she would handle a full day of school, desks and eating in the lunchroom. She was so nervous about the first day and worried about it being all new until we walked into the classroom and saw one of her best friends sitting up front. I exhaled a huge sigh of relief, she turned around quickly to say “by Mom!” without even the usual hug and kiss and she quickly disappeared into the fold of children. That Friday she asked if she could walk to school and come home by herself. My mouth dropped and I thought ‘it took my son until second grade to make that request’…am I being one of those smothering moms??
The most difficult lesson about parenting I feel, is learning to let go and I was about to get yet another lesson. Monday morning I grabbed my keys, walked her out the door and down the walkway to the street and she turned around and said “by mom, have a good day” in order to stop me in my tracks. She wanted to walk across the street and off to school without me! I thought she was joking until she turned around, looked at my feet progressing forward and said “I can do it myself”. For a moment I chuckled inside because my mother used to always joke that I came out of the womb saying those exact words. I took a deep breath, smiled, said “OK” and pointed her in the direction of the crossing guard. I let go. Well, okay so I live directly across the street from her elementary school and the crossing guard is practically on my doorstep when she comes out in the morning, but it was still a huge risk for me! 🙂 Today is day two and she didn’t even want me to leave the doorway of our home, but I told her I had to at least come off the porch to make sure the crossing guard was there on the corner, so she allowed me to keep walking. She seems to be handling the transition well, and I am left to sit in quiet with no choice but to meditate on the next step on my life’s journey to joy. I have made so many sacrifices – personal and financial – in order to be the face that my kids see first thing in the morning and coming home from school in the afternoon. I’ve juggled work schedules, lost clients, lost friends, missed a lot of fun parties, workshops and educational opportunities, all because of my commitment to my children and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I would do it for any child because they are our future and will one day be making decisions that affect my life. I’ve accepted my role here as their guardian and I’ve felt that way about all children for as long as I can remember. I strongly believe if our children grow up knowing that they are the most important person in the lives of those who have created them, they will be confident, loving beings and will spread that love and compassion to all those that they touch.