This morning, after I dropped Little Man off at school, I started to walk away. He turned around and waved for me to come back saying, "Come on, Mommy!" I told him that I couldn't go in with him, that he needed to go to Kindergarten and I needed to go to work.
"Oh, okay, Mommy! Bye!"
And he turned around, and followed the line into school.
My heart swelled up as I watched him, his little body disappearing as he walked through the door, and down the hallway. So grown and yet still so, so small.
It didn't hit me the first day, or the second, but it definitely hit me today. And I was overwhelmed with the sense of pride, trepidation, wonder, and fear of sending my Little Man out into the world.
As Baby Boy and I walked back to the car, I thought about all that my Little Man will face in the coming year and in the coming years. I thought about his excitement and joy in school, and I can't help but hope and pray that he will maintain that. I thought about his goodness and kindness, and can't help but hope and pray that he doesn't lose that.
I also couldn't help but have a little catch of my breath in my throat as I remembered all those little boys and girls just a few years ago who walked into a kindergarten classroom in Connecticut but never walked out. How big they felt, but how small they were. How they had their lives ahead of them, full of hope and promise. Just like my Little Man. My heart wept for those children. And I couldn't but take a moment to pray that the children in Little Man's school, and all schools, would never face that kind of horror again.
Also, although I live in fear for my boys of an unhinged person with too much anger, too much weaponry, and not enough compassion, I can't help but hope and pray that Little Man will not lose his own fearlessness and courage in facing the world.
He heads into a world that I couldn't have imagined in my childhood. That I can hardly imagine now. And it will take all the excitement and joy, the goodness and kindness, the courage and the fearlessness that is in him to face that world.
And so I will love him and support him. Nurture that excitement and joy and remind him to be good and kind. Encourage his courage, and teach him how to be safe while spreading his wings and jumping fearlessly into the world.
And today, I will pick up his Little Man self from school, hold his hand, and walk down the sidewalk, my heart swelling with love and pride and trepidation and wonder and fear and all the swirling emotions of parenthood.
And I will hope and pray...