Monday, August 30, 2010

Cold and Heartless?!!?

As the morning dawned, I knew that my oldest son was waking with butterflies in his stomach and feeling a mix of excitement, fear, and anticipation.  It is his first day of kindergarten.  Today he experiences many firsts - his bus ride to and from school, meeting new friends, eating lunch at school, having a locker, and much more.  Being a kindergartner is a big deal!  This is a new chapter in his life.

And a new chapter in our family's life.

As his mother, I also feel a change.  At times, I have a hard time believing that my oldest child is five years old.  What happened to the time?  Wasn't he just learning to walk and talk yesterday?  When did he get so big?  Everyone told me, when my son was a baby, that time would move at warp speed. And, I have come to realize that "the days are long, but the years are short".*  When thinking about the swiftness of the last five years, I feel a bit reminiscent and sentimental.  I can not believe that my "baby" is a kindergartner!

But, I must confess...generally, I feel incredibly at ease and, dare I say, even a little thrilled, about this new chapter.  When my son stepped on the bus this morning, I had no tears, nor was I sad.  And, in the afternoon, after I dropped my other son off at preschool, I did a little happy dance in my head.  "Woohooie!" I thought, "Freedom!", "ME Time!"

Mostly, I am fine with my response to these changes, but there is a small part of me, that wonders about my giddy state.  As I happily skipped away from the bus stop and the school, I knew that other mothers were emotional.  When I saw and heard about their tears I question myself.  "Why did I not cry?", "Should I have been sad?", "Am I cold and heartless?".  And there is also the guilt.  When asked "Did you cry?", I feel pressure to respond affirmatively.  When I don't, I feel that I have committed a crime on motherhood, and am left out of the lamenting and ensuing camaraderie that follows.  I am left wondering if my membership card might soon be revoked.

Both of my sons have arrived home unscathed.  They had a great time at school and were excited to tell me about their days.  At this point my mom friends who, felt the pangs of sadness and shed tears are feeling better and, fortunately for me, have not disavowed our friendship.  So I think that, my membership card will remain intact for at least another day. 

This experience simply reminded me that, just as our children have their individual temperaments and quirks, moms have their unique reactions and responses to the various chapters of motherhood.  And, most importantly, each is absolutely acceptable and very appropriate.

Happy Beginning of School, Moms - even the "cold and heartless" ones, like me ;)!

*thanks to Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project

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