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.