Editorial: Holy Moly! We Have a Kindergartner
The first day of day care was scary. The first day of preschool was even scarier. Thursday will be the first day of kindergarten and that will be equally, if not more scary. Of course, I'm talking about the fear coming from me -- not our 5-year-old son.
Our son Grayson begins the next chapter of his schooling this week and I find myself thinking about how quickly time flies. From the days of him crawling through the house to learning how to walk and talk, now going to this world of higher learning. I truly can't believe this is happening so fast. The fear that sometimes overcomes me comes from being his Dad. What if he needs me? What if he needs help with something? Will he look for me and I am not there? It doesn't seem like a big deal to some folks, but as a parent -- and I'm sure I'm not alone on this -- these are questions we ask ourselves.
I distinctly remember dropping him off for his first day of preschool last year. Looking into Grayson's eyes and seeing this feeling of the unknown, this feeling of mystery and intrigue that he showed as we quietly drove to the school that morning. When it came time to drop him off, those feelings turned to sadness as he cried and looked at me like I was abandoning him. Of course, being a very sensitive soul in my own right, I got in the car and dried tears from my eye as well.
When I have these feelings of fear, I also parlay those feelings with excitement and wonder. This child had grown so much after a year of preschool. Once the school year ended, the growing and the evolution just began. This summer was full of firsts for Grayson -- riding his bike without training wheels, swimming in the pool and going under water, doing cannonballs and many other things that really have let me see that he is capable of doing absolutely anything he puts his mind too.
On Tuesday, my wife and I accompanied Grayson into his new kindergarten classroom for an open house. He got to tour the room, see where he was sitting, pick his new cubby, say hello to his old friends from preschool who will accompany him on his new journey and I saw that look of wonder, intrigue and, I'll describe it as, "where am I and what am I doing here?"
I know I shouldn't be worried for several reasons. The first being that he has this incredible ability to adapt. Sure, it may take some time to get acclimated, but I have zero doubts that he will. Another reason is that he is at a great school that will help in any way possible. Along with that, he has a great teacher who friends of mine have been praising in every conversation I have had. Plus, he has parents who will make sure he gives his absolute best. His mom just happens to be one of the most driven, strongest people I know and Grayson has surely inherited those character traits.
In all honesty, I believe fear and excitement go hand in hand -- for us as parents, adults in general, kids, teenagers, all of us in some way. If you just have excitement, over confidence seems to creep in. If you just have fear, you may lose out on the exciting things that could come with it. While, naturally, I have my worries about Grayson starting a new chapter in his life, I am also excited to see what this kid will be able to do and what he will bring home with him to share.
For all of the parents out there who feel the same way that I do, just know that you are not alone on this. Even the folks who seem to have it all together have these same feelings. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. It's the unknown. It's new and exciting. It's also a bit scary. While our children grow and evolve with each school year, so do we as parents. We learn more and more how to balance fear and excitement into one incredible feeling.
I don't know how I'll react when he heads to middle school, high school or even college. What I do know is that I will be ready for it, whether I am overly pumped, or quivering with fear. Here's to a great school year parents and students alike. We've got this!