George started VPK on Wednesday. (If you are reading this and you don't live in Florida, that stands for "Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten.")
He now goes to school five days a week from 9 am to 12:15 pm. They have an attendance policy and everything, since the program is paid for by the state.
I went to a parents' meeting on the first day, and I was sitting in the chair just thinking about how fast the time has gone.
I remember so many little things about his four short years on this earth. He will always be the one who made me a mom. He will always be the one who used to play with my hair every single night before bed. He will always be the one who laid in bed with me to watch Backyardigans every. single. morning. for his first year. He will always be the one who I used to sit with and cuddle while his father was in law school three nights a week.
I am so proud of him and really want him to be independent, but at the same time I want to shelter him from anything that hurts his feelings. I love that he loves to learn, but I want him to always need me to tell him things. I love that he has so many friends at school, but I want to always be his best friend.
I am not niave enough to think that these dependences will always be true, but I am so glad God gives us baby steps to help with the process of letting go. I always said that I would never be that mom that makes her kids feel guilty for growing up. I truly want my kids to be able to thrive in their environment, and I know God only places them in our care for a season. Eventually they have to grow up, make decisions on their own, and be their own person.
It is such a difficult dichotomy to explain. I truly want to give my kids all the tools they need to thrive in whatever stage of life they are in. I never want to hold them back from all the wonderful plans God has for their life. At the same time I am in awe of how fast the time goes. I feel like I am going to be sending them off to college in the blink of an eye.
Four and a half years ago I gave birth to this beautiful little boy who is now in a real school program and is flourishing in his environment. I couldn't be prouder, but I am still feeling like he shouldn't be old enough. Wasn't he just in my arms, swaddled in his baby blanket on our way home from the hospital? Wasn't he just getting his diaper changed? Wasn't he just saying his first words, taking his first steps?
I guess he was, and I was there for all of that. I get to be there for all these memories that make up his life. I get to watch him grow. I get to send him off on all his first days of school. What a priviledge I have as his mother. I want to always see these moments as part of the whole that will become him.