Home > Education, Parenting > The opposite of stability

The opposite of stability

My son started first grade today.

Except he didn’t really start; he only brought school supplies, met his teacher, his new friends and toured the grounds. I’d have taken Tuesday off instead, had I realized, but today was a good day to share with Li’l D anyway.

“I’m scared,” he whispered as we neared his new school. He wrapped his left hand tight around my right one.

“I understand,” I whispered back. “I feel scared when I start new things, too.”

I couldn’t vouch for anything we were about to see, honestly. My husband, an assistant director between gigs, had all the staff conversations and campus visits that led to our enrolling Li’l D at his new school. I could vouch for my faith in my husband, Anthony, but not directly for anything we were about to witness.

But something happened when we crossed the threshold into the courtyard. Parents and kids smiled at me. Li’l D couldn’t see those smiles, hidden as he was behind my back, but they’d set my neurons afire in a chorus of:

It is all okay.

I don’t do “I’ll tell myself it’s okay because I want to believe it’s okay.”

I absolutely do, “All the cues these people are sending me say, ‘We are your son’s people, and he will be safe here.'” I got that from 100% of the kids, parents, and teachers I met today, which left me walking away an hour later feeling:

It is all okay.

We’re about to embark on an adventure here.

I hated adventures for a while.

Adventure is the opposite of stability!

This seemed so right at the time, but now … now I know that “stable” is where learning goes to breathe its last gasping breaths. It’s where growth scrabbles for a chance to bask in the sun, only to fall forever within the shadows of at-least-you’re-still-breathing.

I walked away from the school smiling. My son is nervous, but I have this feeling he’s about to learn the joy of instability: of reaching outside his comfort zone to discover all the possibility that lies beyond it.

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  1. August 24, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Aww…what a wonderful milestone event for you and your son. This is so beautifully written and chock full of insights. Blessings galore to you and your family, MW

    • August 25, 2015 at 5:20 am

      Thank you! I’m glad.to have captured it to revisit with D someday: “Can you even believe it, now?!”

  2. August 24, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    And, since your boys foundations are set in bedrock, he CAN enjoy the joy of instability. A gift you and your husband have provided.

  3. August 24, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Love this! Look forward to following you as you follow Li’l D on his next Adventure!

    • August 25, 2015 at 5:15 am

      It’s 5am, and I’m already feeling bouncy with anticipation! D’s not there yet, but I’m keen to see when and how he adapts. (I think the couple of 2nd graders we met right before leaving will be instrumental in that!)

      • August 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm

        Of course, you do know that the clearest sign of him “getting there” will be when you tell him something and he says, “Nuh-UHH – Miss Teacher says such-and-such” … and you realize you have permanently lost your position as the Source of All Wisdom. It’s a bummer, even though it’s necessary.

  4. August 25, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Aww what a lovely post! He’ll be fine, he’ll come back with a million things to tell you about the day!

    • August 25, 2015 at 5:16 am

      I already can’t wait! I’m looking at the clock thinking, “It’ll be nine hours before I get a report! Soooo long!” Feeling a bit like a five-year-old myself, honestly. 🙂

  5. August 25, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I love the “he’s about the learn the joy of instability” What a great way to look at it, that was actually refreshing for me to read, too. Mr. T started Senior Year yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I was just as nervous with butterflies in my stomach as he left the house yesterday and drove himself to school as I was on day 1 when I took him and dropped him off! Congratulations on this new adventure in y’alls life!

    • August 29, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Thanks! I think there are times where stability has its benefits; I’m pretty sure my mom would have cherished a little of the stability I have in my own life. But with a little foundational stability … the opportunities to test out everything else in the world abound! 😀

  6. NotAPunkRocker
    August 25, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I’m sure he’ll adapt to change beautifully and maybe even thrive on it 🙂

    • August 25, 2015 at 9:45 am

      A told me he got more excited the closer they got to the school. Indeed, though the pic A sent me of him walking into the school is blurry, it’s not too blurry to see he’s beaming. ♡

  7. August 25, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Big day for the little man, and for his momma. All those first are so exciting and also somewhat sad because he’ll keep moving away from you. That’s how it should be. Can’t wait to hear how great he’s doing in first grade!

    • August 25, 2015 at 9:47 am

      He was still mostly nervous when I left for work, but was–per A–beaming when he entered the school. Yay!

      Sometimes I wish I could keep him at a certain stage, but then I think how excited I am to see him grow and learn … and I know it’s right for him to keep in walking, and me to encourage him as he does. ♡

  8. August 25, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Wonderful day. He will be fine mom, but you knew that. It’s just the letting go that is so difficult. Bravo mom.

    • August 25, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Thank you! His dad said he did great going in. Now I’m awaiting the “first day finished” report, even knowing that’s a few hours out. 🙂

  9. August 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I love how you handle these situations. Rather than tell him *what* to feel as many parents do, you extend empathy. So love it. I hope his first week goes well!

    • August 29, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Thank you! Your comment made me smile. It’s one of those I’d like to share with my mom, while saying: Just in case you hadn’t realized it yet, you weren’t terrible! You set some amazing examples. 🙂

  10. August 31, 2015 at 2:23 am

    I have spent so much time in the past few years excavating memories from my own childhood. Many of them are not memories I want to remember, even though I do; I went back into them as the only way I could actually, finally put them down. Revisiting my childhood with an adult’s eyes…well, there’s a lot less happiness there than I even realized.

    All of which is context for what I really want to say: Hearing parents talk about their children, and their children’s perspectives, with empathy and humor and love moves me today as never before. I have tears in my eyes, reading this post. Thank you for that.

    The way you love your children is not just a precious thing for them. It is precious for the world.

    • September 3, 2015 at 5:11 am

      This comment really struck something in me. I can’t quite describe it, but it’s a sweet thing: a remembrance of my mom’s wish we live it better, a recognition of healing in progress, and the probability of even better things ahead for little ones who know only the abundant love of the adults around them … not what those adults endured. It’s a soul-sigh, I’d say, even though I’m still finding other words for it.

      Two words easily formed on the tip of my tongue reading this: thank you.

  11. August 31, 2015 at 10:47 am

    My son starts kindergarten next week. Thanks for the reassurance and for arming me with things to say in support of him.

    • September 3, 2015 at 5:12 am

      I hope it ends up being a lovely experience, even if there’s some wobbling in starting steps!

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