A soft place to land

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest son and I were sitting on our back porch enjoying a lazy summer afternoon. My youngest was blissfully napping, there was a gentle breeze and the faint rustle of leaves. All was quiet except for the sounds of my son’s tag reader. The two of us relaxed together reading our respective books.

I stopped and watched him for a moment. My heart swelled with love and joy. We had reached that point, the point where we could relax companionably in each other’s company. I was struck by how much he has grown up, how much he has changed, seemingly overnight.

My mind started to wander as he focused on discovering his books. I inevitably considered some big, impending changes including the one where my little boy starts on ta big adventure called school.

Life has a way of moving forward even when we aren’t completely paying attention. Until recently I haven’t focused much on the fact that he is soon to be a student – the first of many roles he will play in his life.  His days will be filled with more than just play. He will be learning, in a formal way. He’s embarking on a journey of a lifetime, an odyssey of responsibility.

We’re just a week away from his first day and I feel torn. Torn between excitment and sadness for him, apprehension and exhiliration for me. Everything will change. In good ways, and I’m certain some in bad for he will now be exposed to influences completely beyond my control, peer influences.

I know that similar emotions run through the hearts and minds of mothers everywhere.  We must let our children grow up, it’s important that we trust them in the world. But we must also provide a safety net of comfort that they can come home to and guidance to help them navigate all these new influences.

And so, though everything will change, much will stay the same. He still needs me, perhaps more than ever. I will be here to hug him, to encourage him, to provide a soft place to land when he needs it. I will wrap my heart with an armour so that I don’t let worry and fear guide me.

I will be brave , just as I expect him to be brave.


14 thoughts on “A soft place to land

  1. cristina says:

    Aw! your post made me cry, I so can relate. As excited as I am for my guy to go to school, I also worry, he is such a sensitive little boy and I know I can’t protect him from everything. I think I might have to be way braver than him, and allow him to experience the good and the bad.

  2. Tiffany says:

    It is so hard to let them go…especially for the first time. I love your new digs!!

  3. Justine says:

    Yes, you’re so right, Christine. Letting go is the hardest part isn’t it? Once they embark on this next journey, which takes up most of their formative years, all we can do is hope that what we had taught them would continue to shape the person they become and influence the decisions they make. And also hope that they will know that no matter how far they go, they are always welcome to come back to the safe haven we have created for them. He will see that with you Christine, I am sure of it.

  4. Chantal says:

    Isn’t it hard! I found it so hard with my boys, both for different reasons, but both hard. But overall I just wanted them to remain little for a bit longer. Innocent, you know. I love that they are growing, but I also miss the littleness of them. Especially with my 9yo. Almost every day I mourn his littleness while reminding myself to enjoy who he is now. It is silly, and hard, and heartbreaking, all at the same time.

  5. Corinne says:

    I can’t even imagine… it’s hard enough navigating the playground w/ other kids, the classroom…. oh me oh my… I’m sitting here thankful for this last year I have w/ Fynn at home (probably… I’m surprising myself at leaving home education on the table…)

  6. Kameron says:

    Sometimes I feel that they may be braver than we are. I am always worried about how he will interact with other kids, if they will like him, if they’ll hurt his feelings. I think it would be nice to be blissfully unaware again of disapointments like a toddler is. Sigh.

  7. ShannonL says:

    Good girl! Be brave. I know he will be. He is such a confident, friendly, charismatic little guy. He will make all kinds of new friends and will just love school. And as he goes along he will know that Mommy and Daddy are always there to love and encourage him no matter what.

    “I will wrap my heart with an armour so that I don’t let worry and fear guide me.” – I love that line.

  8. Ugh. Peer influences. If you figure that one out, please enlighten me. I am not learning this part of mothering gracefully. However, CONGRATS to you and your big boy. This is an exciting milestone (for the most part!)

  9. Hyacynth says:

    Christine, you are so filled with love for your boys that it makes my heart swell. I hope you both have a wonderful first day of school next week!
    I never thought much how about as our boys age they will take on new roles. But it’s so very important for me to realize that my son is now becoming something to people other than just me and our family. Now if that doesn’t rock my world … Lol.
    But at the same time, like you said, I will be his soft landing. A beautiful thought and reality.

  10. Melissa says:

    Oh yes I wrapped myself in that armor almost two weeks ago and I could not even imagine it turning out as good as it did. I agree with you, I think it’s almost more important for them now, to be that soft place to land as the navigate this new adventure.

    Peer influences scare me, for some reason so much more with my daughter. I may need a stronger suit of armor for her!

    As always, thank you for your words and for linking up with us!

  11. A soft place to land indeed! Not to worry, they stay little and wanting the comforts of home much longer than you realize. And the adventure of their forays into learning, in elementary school, can be so exciting for them – and delicious for us as parents. I think you’ll love this next stage. And so will he.

  12. Leslie says:

    Yep, it was just this sort of vision that had me wide- and teary-eyed over a Chinese buffet this week. My boy is a few years away from kindergarten, but all around me, kids I think of as babies are getting out of minivans and walking themselves into classrooms. Most of them happily. I hope that’s how your son goes in, too, just as he comes home to his soft landing.

  13. Ohh, this is definitely a bigger picture moment. On the cusp of the next phase of his life! So exciting and yet bittersweet.

    Christine, I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I love the new look of Coffees & Commutes! Congratulations on your “big girl blog” – very exciting! (And kudos to Momalom on the great design.)

  14. […] development, we also believe it’s proof of the outside influences I worried about at the beginning of the year. This year he learned to think for himself, and he’s shown us he’s willing to test its […]

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