Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Last night, right before I left Benajamin's room and he was about to go to sleep, he said, in a panicked voice, "Mom, I don't want to grow old. I don't want to be 5." I asked him why and in his pre-teenager mode he shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know." It eventually came out. He said he wouldn't get to see his friends anymore and there wouldn't be any paint or books in kindergarten. He was almost on the verge of tears. I assured him that there would indeed be books and paints in kindergarten, maybe even better ones than there were in preschool, and that we'd invite his current friends over when we could but that he'd make new friends too. "I won't like them," he told me. I gently reassured him that he might like them. Ben has never been good with change, so we've been preparing him for kindergarten since last summer, taking him by the school, letting him play on the playground, discussing it with him. He is ready academically but I am nervous about how anxious he will be once school starts in August, and also how anxious we will both be. Because even though he's been in pre-school, kindergarten is a whole new frontier. A whole new level of letting him go into the world and begin to have his own separate life outside of the safety of our family. His preschool is on Ryan's campus and Ryan can check on him at any time. That physical proximity is important, even if it is illogical. It will be hard for me to know that he is in a classroom miles away from Ryan and me, navigating the new friends, the new teacher, this whole new segment of his life. I know he will be teased at some point, that this is normal. But it doesn't feel any better to know this. It doesn't stop me from wanting to hug him every minute he is at school, fending off the mean kids. I didn't realize it before, but I am anxious too. I know he is ready, but it doesn't matter. I won't let him feel any of this anxiety of course, and we have a few more months to prepare. Everyone always says, "they grow up so fast." And it is true. They do.