Thursday, August 31, 2006

First day of Kindergarten

We woke up and got Matthew ready for school. We made a big sign “My first day of Kindergarten” and Matthew held the sign and took a picture. Matthew was a little nervous lining up with the other children in his class. The moment he went into his classroom, he was excited. He followed the other children to take a book and sat on the ground to read. When the teacher told the children to say goodbye to us, Matthew waved goodbye at me. He asked for a hug and we left. I was so proud of my little boy who often has had a hard time separating he has grown up in front of me today. I cannot be any more proud. I know Matthew will be so eager to learn and to make friends. If he runs into conflict, he will articulate his feelings and works it out or if not, he will ask for help….. I came home to an empty house and wonder what should I do now? Is that how most of the mothers who do not work full time feel?

Today, kindergarten was all about Matthew. There were 2 Ryan’s in his class. But our Ryan died at such a young age that I could not have imagined him coming to kindergarten with his brother. We were both in the moments of watching Matthew reaching this milestone.

I picked up Matthew at noon and he told me excitedly that he made 2 friends today. A boy kicked Matthew twice but Matthew said, “Stop doing that. It hurts when you kick me.” And the boy stopped.

Kindergarten is an adjustment for the child and for the parents. Matthew flew with such strength into the sky today and I was the proud mama bird who let him go and knowing he will be fine…… Our responsibility as parents will be to continue to provide the tools he will need to survive in a 5-year old world….

As for John, John said he had so much anxiety this past week leading up to this day. Today is a day of reflecting for him. He remembered he went to kindergarten, turned 6 and his mother died a few days after. The next year, he went to a different school to start first grade. He remembered vividly bringing home a form where he was supposed to put down his mother and father’s name. At 6, he asked who was his mother? He didn’t know which name to put down.

Our childhood modes our adulthood. As for John, his childhood trained him to achieve everything on his own without the normal parental support. He didn’t have a mother who gave him words of encouragement. At times, he said he could not understand why Matthew may get frustrated at a task. But I tried to remind him that Matthew has more tools than we do to accomplish in life.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The eve before kindergarten

It is 4:30am in the morning, a few hours before Matthew’s first day of kindergarten. He woke me up. Normally, he would crawl into our bed and slept until the morning, but not this week. I decided to be strict. I have been wondering why first day of kindergarten is emotionally for so many. I told Matthew that it is going to be a big day and he needs his energy for his first day of kindergarten. Matthew nodded and told me that he loves me and to give him lots of kisses and hugs before I left.

I am awake now and it feels like the night before my wedding day. It is not a normal day… there is so much anticipation. I welled up in tears in bed and realized that Kindergarten is about “letting go”. Tonight, I feel as a mom, I am the shore and Matthew is a ship. My ship which has anchor to be ashore so much during these past 5.5 yrs will sail away. I know he will be making longer trips (away from the shore) as time goes. To be a good mother, I have to learn to let go.

Kindergarten is about receiving a set of official responsibilities. Matthew’s responsibilities are to learn to be in school on time, to learn and to get along with other children. He learns to take care of himself in my physical absence. Perhaps it is this newfound responsibility that makes kindergarten such a milestone.

Will I feel bittersweet because Ryan is not going to kindergarten? I feel Ryan has sailed away from us. Tonight, I am anticipating Matthew to sail away too. However, I know Matthew will come back ashore from time to time throughout his life. Perhaps in the midst of celebrating a milestone, each parent learns to grieve for the “loss”. In our case, that loss magnifies as a result of our ultimate loss of Ryan. This is another reminder of how I am living in the moment with my life. I look at John sleeping peacefully next to me and know that only John will be the “boy” who will be next to me in my lifetime. Our children grow up…..the essence of life, assuming we all live a long life.

I think I am ready for tomorrow….finally….