I got a lump in my throat dropping my kid off today. I swear, this whole kindergarten transition thing is doing a number on me. My son has been more touchy than usual lately, so I know it’s manifesting that way for him as well. He’s so much like me sometimes, it’s scary.
I am a planner. I like to plan things. I do NOT like surprises. Of any kind. Not even nice surprises. There have been exactly two occasions in my entire life where I was surprised and liked it, but generally, if you know me IRL, please, please do not surprise me. The best way I deal with change is with plenty of advance planning, a little bit of obsessing, and then processing through it.
When my father died, for example, it wasn’t really a big surprise. He had been unhealthy for a long time. He had a heart attack, which I was not terribly surprised about when I heard about it (though of course it was sad), and then a few short months later, he died of a stroke. People’s parents do die and even at the young age of 21, I knew several friends whose Dads had already passed away, so it was rough, but not really what I’d call a surprise. Finding out three weeks later that my relatives had conspired behind my back to sell my childhood home and auction off all the contents without my knowledge – that’s a surprise, and not something easily dealt with. So yeah – surprises? Not so much, thank you.
Processing through my son’s transition has been interesting for me. I’m trying to be optimistic but also realistic when I speak to him about what’s happening, to keep him informed every day of what will happen today, tomorrow, and in the next few days. He’s a lot like me, so he’s a little crabby that change is happening, but is getting through it. We will have several days before K starts, during which we will visit the new school for testing and orientation, and we’ll get some school shopping done and I expect a bit of fun and playing. If my knees cooperate, a hike. And we’ll finally get down to Malabar Farm, which we haven’t been able to do this summer. I might take him for a day trip to my hometown and show him my elementary school, which is the only school I went to that is a) still open and b) still operating the same way it did when I went there; my middle school was razed completely, and my high school is now a middle school.
Tomorrow, I expect a full breakdown in the preschool parking lot after dropping him off, and perhaps some embarrassing hugging of the administrators, and sobbing on their shoulders. For the last time. No more cubby with his name, no more breakfast with Ms. Karen and the regular “breakfast club” attendees, who he will never see again after tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll even make it out of the classroom.
Sometimes I feel very frustrated and upset that this is the only time I’ll be able to do each thing that’s part of him growing up, since he is the only child I was able to have. I feel like I never had time to get used to anything and be good at it for the next child, or the next. Then I think about how very close I was to never having the chance to even do these things one time, and know how lucky I really am, and how I should just shut up.
I am a little touchy these days, friends. That’s how I deal with change as I process it. My energy is all over the map. Yesterday morning at work I was so overwhelmed I almost couldn’t deal, but I got through it. Yesterday evening I was so elated and had such joy all night, it almost felt like a crime. Today my mind is going in a hundred different directions and I feel like I’m drowning. I just keep moving forward.