We’ve reached a “major” milestone in our lives as parents–the first kid is off to kindergarten, embarking on 13 of years of mandatory schooling with the option for 4 more.
Sending him to kindergarten was much more difficult that I had anticipated. And that was strange for me. He’s been going to preschool full-time for two years, so dropping my off with “strangers” wasn’t exactly anything that was new to me. But watching them start kindergarten just feels completely different. There are no naps, no morning snacks, no unstructured playtime, it’s an environment of learning. He can’t just take the day off, there are procedures to be followed, pickup and dropoffs to be handled.
The first day was difficult. It’s hard watching your kid go off on this journey. Because you know what the end brings–adulthood, moving out of the house, going into the open world, free to make their own decisions and choices. Yeah, it’s 13 years away, but I just did 5 in the blink of an year. I’m over a quarter of the way there already.
As a parent, you work to make sure you’re setting your kid up for success. You buy a house in a good school district, you make sure they can write their name and say their ABCs, but in the end, they have to go out there and do it. They have to be the learners and they have to take an active role in their own education and success. And when they hit kindergarten, you wonder if you did everything you could so that they do succeed, or at least have that opportunity.
For him, though, it’s no big deal. It’s school. And I remember feeling the same way. It’s school, it’s what I do. I listen to the teacher, I do my assignments, and I come home. We do that for 180 days each year and then progress to the next grade. And for that I’m thankful, that we don’t look through our parents’ eyes when we’re in school. That we don’t see ourselves as small children, wondering if we are old enough, or big enough, or bright enough to succeed. We see it as a journey, as something exciting, if sometimes tedious. He isn’t thinking about middle school, or high school, or where he will go to college. He isn’t worried about the school’s Value Added or Gap Closing or Performance Indicators Met, it’s just school.
And I guess that’s why we’re the parents. We worry about it so they don’t have to.