It is so hard to believe, but tomorrow my firstborn begins a new chapter in his life - tomorrow is the first day of kindergarten. Now I know that tomorrow is all about Jude - it is his big day and the beginning of a great new adventure - but for just a moment today, I feel the need to reflect for myself about all this. There may be some kindergarten lessons for me to learn too.
In the last few weeks I have learned that even when everything around you is familiar, there is still unknown territory in life. I will be honest -I am just not exactly sure how to feel. I know that Jude is ready (he is so very ready!) but sometimes I am not convinced I am. I never wanted to be the mom that couldn't move with the times and embrace new stages, but as I stood this spring with tears running down my face as I picked up his preschool graduation cap and gown, I learned a lesson for myself. Wanting to be something changes your mind but not your heart. And when it comes to our children, we moms lead with the heart.
I am also learning that decisions can be final, but emotions rarely are. Mark and I talked at great length for the last five years about our plan for the boys' educations. We prayed, researched, talked to friends and educators, and finally decided together what we felt was best. I thought once we made our choices, I would stop having to wrestle with the emotions of the decision making process. I know Mark and I are making the right choice for our family. I know I don't want to make life choices for the boys based on fear. I know it is my job to see them into the real world appropriately. Oh, but there are still moments that make my heart ache! As I sit here today, there is a part of me that wonders who his buddies will be. Will they be nice kids? Will they accept Jude for all that makes Jude unique? Will they see him as the special kid I do? Fear and worry! As much as I don't want those two things in my life, they can turn into a mom's closest companions if she isn't careful.
The other thing I am learning is that prayer is my greatest weapon. I know it sounds hokey and too Sunday-schoolish to be true, but the one thing that drives away that fear and worry that creeps in is prayer. I pray that Jude will carry into that kindergarten classroom a sense that no matter where he is, his God and his mom love him always. We have this little game we play when Jude and I get to teasing, and as things settle down he will smile so sweetly at me and say, "Mommy, nothing can take your love away." and I reassure him that is true. Oh, I hope he remembers that tomorrow! I pray for his teacher, a lovely woman who, if first impressions are accurate, may be God's gift to my tender heart tomorrow. She is sweet and speaks gently, and she is a hugger. God bless the hugging teachers! And finally, I pray for me that I will walk out tomorrow morning with a spirit of peace that Jude can sense and share. I know he will be fine - I pray God will help me be fine too.
To close, I guess the thing I am realizing most is that I so dearly and deeply love my kindergarten boy! I have always loved him, but as I take this time in this stage of his life to really stop and think, I have to tell you he is a joy and a delight. He is sweet and insightful - my friend calls him an intercessor - and just smart enough to still be a bit mischievous when the times call for it (another prayer item to add to my list as I think about it). He is only five, but he is already a gift to the world. I love you, Jude! Go get 'em tomorrow my beautiful son - and know mommy will be at home learning from kindergarten too.