Home > Family, Love, Parenting > Little boy growing

Little boy growing

Two and a half years ago, I dropped off my little boy for a test run at a nearby preschool.

He liked the school so much that my husband and I enrolled him immediately. As I left my husband to fill out the enrollment paper, I had to tell myself:

He is not walking away from me,
but toward who he is meant to be.

walking toward

His first teacher was better suited for military academy than leading three-year-olds.

She believed that three-year-olds needed to be able to write their letters. Like the school’s owner, I believed three-year-olds should be learning how to share and stand in line.

His first teacher was replaced by a gentler teacher whom my Li’l D cherished. That beloved teacher left, and soon enough Li’l D joined the four-year-old class.

I liked his teacher, Miss A, but I didn’t like the report cards. Or the homework. These seemed like such serious things for four-year-olds, who I felt should be running and climbing and exploring instead of diving into proper academics.

Still my favorite traffic

Deciding I wanted Li’l D to have a different kind of educational experience, I signed him up for an alternative school late into his year with Miss A.

He returned to Miss A only three weeks later. It took her months to lovingly heal the wounds from his three traumatic weeks at the other school. She was more than equal the task.

I was thrilled when Miss A switched to kindergarten just in time for Li’l D to begin it. The only thing better than one year with Miss A? Two years with Miss A!

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve realized that second year was ticking away. It only really hit me those minutes have almost completely ticked away last week, when I saw my not-so-little boy running circles around the much bigger school that might be his next one. His first grade one.

owl grade

Still, my understanding wasn’t complete until this evening, when I picked up my son’s homework folder and saw a note saying it’s his last homework assignment this year. Instead of four or five pages of work, he had just one task: to write two or three sentences describing his favorite parts of the school year almost done.

I choked up reading Miss A’s assignment letter, the very last one I’ll see from her. For my little boy, the still-kindergartener.

Back at home, it took Li’l D only a few minutes to confidently sound out and write down his answer. When he first started writing sentences a few months ago, the same assignment would’ve taken him an hour. He would’ve had three times as many letters facing the wrong direction.

He didn't have enough room for his third sentence:

He didn’t have enough room for his third sentence: “I liked Miss A best because she is sweet and nice and loving and kind.”

I look at tonight’s work and can see both how much he’s learned and how much he has left to learn. I’m excited to make that learning journey with him over the years ahead.

And yet, tonight, as I reflect with wistfulness and wonder on the last two and a half years, excitement is a quiet warmth compared to all the other feelings whirling restless around my heart.

I find myself fighting tears as I remind myself, just like I did that first day,

He is not walking away from me,
but toward who he is meant to be.

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  1. Joy
    June 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    This is beautiful – and perfect timing for me to read as tomorrow I’ll watch my little monkey “graduate” from preschool. She keeps asking me if I’m going to have happy tears when she sings the song she has been practicing non-stop for weeks now “Each of us is a flower, growing in life’s garden.” I am tearing up even as I write this…I’m going to be a crying mess! All part of the job though – and the happiest bits really, even if they are bittersweet.

    • June 9, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      When I told her I got weepy over her homework note, Miss A said, “Just wait until graduation!” I rarely wear make-up and save it for very special occasions … but not this one. Goodness knows it’d be all over my chin and chest in no time!

      Hear, hear to your concluding thought. The little bit of bitter is well worth the overwhelming sweetness of it all.

      Congrats to your grad, and big hugs to you!

      • Joy
        June 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm

        Thank you… And I’m with you on the make-up… Not a stitch for me tomorrow!

  2. June 9, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Sounds like your boy is growing up to be a fine young man 🙂

  3. June 9, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Aww! It’s been a long time since I was “in your shoes” with my own children, but I was an early childhood educator for many, many years, as both a director and teacher, and speaking from that perspective, we teachers get awfully attached to those little ones, too! I used to feel so let down at the end of a period when the children moved on. Now I sometimes run into those families and former students are in college, and of course, these same children who bonded so closely to me hardly remember, or don’t remember at all, because they were three and four! This is a really sweet and special time in your son’s life and you’re feeling those same growing pains. It’s so wise to see these small steps of independence as not moving away, but moving into who he is meant to be. That’s a fantastic and beautiful perspective!

    • June 10, 2015 at 4:15 am

      I remember seeing my second grade teacher early in my college career. I was surprised and a little thrilled to see my teacher eye to eye as an adult myself; she didn’t remember me. I wonder if I’d recognize her now!

      I hope Li’l D and Miss A will have chances to meet over the years ahead. However often our paths do or don’t cross, I’ll be forever grateful that they did cross. What a lady! What a teacher! And, wouldn’t you know, I’m getting all misty-eyed right now. I’m glad we have a little (homework-less) while with her yet.

      Thank you for your thoughtful and soothing words. ♥

  4. June 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    ‘He is not walking away from me,
    but toward who he is meant to be.’
    And in that walk he has amazing parents who will cheer, encourage – and act as backstops if and when needed. Hard to ask for more isn’t it?

  5. June 10, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Awh – I have to remember your mantra – not walking away / toward who he is meant to be. Beautiful – and helpful in watching your kids grow up!

    • June 10, 2015 at 4:29 am

      Thank you! I had no idea how often I’d come back to those words when I first thought them, and how I’d find them more instead of less comforting each time.

      Yesterday I also got to feeling grateful for the cycles of time. (I expanded on this thought in this 2012 post.) This particular school year is almost over, which is bitterswet, but another cycle will begin soon. I’ll get to experience all those joys, and the ones of seeing D understand even more about himself and the world.

      And I’ll remain “deeply grateful for all the expected and unexpected joyous encounters past on the calendar but present in my heart.”

      • June 10, 2015 at 4:34 am

        Relationships with our loved ones truly are life’s greatest blessing. They do make our heart so full!

        • June 10, 2015 at 4:37 am

          Truth! I’ve recently missed having any morning time to myself (since J awakens so early), but … I’m getting it this morning, and instead of cherishing it fully find myself listening extra close to the bedrooms for signs my kids are stirring. 😀

  6. Deb
    June 10, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Your little one’s have so many more years on their journey. It will be exciting, and often scary as well, for all of you. I still have memories of some of those special teachers, both of my own and my kids, although I don’t know if my adult children now think back to anyone in particular. I hope that they do. Enjoy what lies ahead, and always have some tissues on hand 😉

    • June 12, 2015 at 4:32 am

      That is sage advice all around! I need to get the tissue pronto, as Li’l D keeps saying these increasingly big boy things … all while counting school days left in kindergarten. (Noooo! Just be where you are now, Sweetie! Have fun with it!)

  7. June 10, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Stop it! Now I have a massive lump in my throat… I watched my son decide to drive to school today and leave his car at school while he is at Cheer Camp (instead of letting me drive him and seeing him off at school). It was such a big step and it’s for his Senior Year and he is totally growing towards who he is going to be!

  8. June 10, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Debbie, you old softie, you’re so right. All that growing and changing DOES mean they are walking away from you. Every milestone is one greeted with tears of pride and sadness at what is left behind.

    • June 12, 2015 at 4:33 am

      I really am a softie. The teenaged me would wonder who the hell this me is, but this me is a much more enjoyable one to be. 😀

  9. June 11, 2015 at 4:16 am

    What a joy, truly. Think how wonderful all the years ahead will be with your son sponging up knowledge and sharing it with you. He will do this because your heart listened and gave him the opportunity to learn.

    • June 12, 2015 at 4:35 am

      ♥ I am so excited for it! When he tells me what he learned any given day (and then says no one taught him, he just spontaneously intuited it–ha!), I’m so glad my little boy’s a talker. Those insights into who he is and what he enjoys feel like reminders to remember the “sweet” in the “bittersweet,” for there’s so much more to come.

  10. June 11, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    3 years olds do great when good teachers are there but parents are the greatest a child could ever have ….

  11. June 12, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    ‘He is not walking away from me,
    but toward who he is meant to be.’
    I shall have to keep these lines with me always! So powerful ❤

  1. June 12, 2015 at 5:34 am
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