The 5 year old started all day kindergarten today. I thought I was going to be fine with it, that I was tough, but I was wrong. We took him yesterday for an informational meeting, which lasted an hour, and I almost lost it then. Thankfully, the spouse took him today so I didn't have to deal with the emotional turmoil of leaving him by himself, exposed and vulnerable to the world.
Him going to school is a wonderful and fabulous thing, I know it is. And he is absolutely thrilled to go. However, it doesn't seem possible. He can't be old enough to do things on his own. I feel like I need to be there, hovering over him to make sure he's safe and protected from the bad things in the world. But, I can't. He has to learn to become self sufficient and a free thinker. And I want him to, but part of me is mourning the fact that he's growing up.
It doesn't help that I'm a totally worrier, either. Last night around 2:30-3:00 in the morning, I started freaking out that he wasn't going to be able to eat his lunch. He took a cold lunch because he didn't like what the school was serving. I had visions of him leaving his lunchbox in the classroom or only eating the applesauce and cookies. Then, after school, he's supposed to ride the bus to the high school to be with his grandma. I had visions he'd get lost somewhere along the way and be standing on the sidewalk crying his eyes out. Sometimes my imagination is a curse.
These fears, of course, are completely unsubstantiated. First of all, he's not going to a desert island. There are teachers and other adults around to make sure he'll eat correctly. Plus, he's a good kid. He knows what he needs to eat for lunch. Secondly, he rides the bus with two older girls, one is at least a fifth grader, and he has a name tag with the bus number that specifically says he can't get off until the high school. He's going to be just fine.
I need to learn how to relinquish control and let go. I can still worry about and protect my children, but I don't need to freak out. The best thing I can do for them is give them skills and the intelligence to cope with whatever life throws their way. Granted, I'm not going to teach them my coping skills, they'll be emotional wrecks, but I'll teach them to do the opposite of what I do! I hope I can make it through this first day...