Grade One

It strikes me as I am wading through the piles of brightly coloured lunch boxes and backpacks of various shapes and sizes, looking for the perfect back-to-school paraphernalia; that before I know it, my firstborn will be heading off into the world. He will leave for grade one with little thought to his teary-eyed mother, who will no doubt spend the entire day wallowing in the fading memories of every milestone he has surpassed thus far in his short yet energetic life.

Which new phase has troubled me the most? It’s hard to say, maybe when he gave up nursing or didn’t need any help holding the bottle of milk. Perhaps it was the day he started crawling and crossed the room and quickly ripped all the leaves off my tropical plant was the hardest. Then there was his first day of nursery school when he only cried for a few minutes and then quickly adapted to the sights and sounds of the daycare environment.

It’s hard to say which milestone was the most difficult for Mommy, although I distinctly remember the pain of putting away his tiny running shoes and crib and buying sippy cups and a convertible carseat. Has it been 6 years since I counted his fingers and toes in the delivery room? How did the minutes turn into weeks and years without my noticing? How will I make it through the next 12 years before he goes to college? Am I the only one who feels like the next decade is a runaway train and I’m barely hanging on? Does anyone else burst into tears while viewing phone commercials involving college students leaving home?

So between 8:30am and 3:00pm between Monday to Friday I will be a mother of one again…wondering if he’s ok; are the other kids being nice to him? Is he eating his lunch? Is he having fun? Does he miss staying home with Mommy? Has he learned any bad words today? Is the teacher compassionate, does she understand his quirky nature? Will he learn to love reading? Have we done a good job preparing him for this time in his life? What have we forgotten to teach him? Will he be forever damaged because he can read a book but can’t really tell time proficiently?

I realize that I am over-reacting, and surely I’m not the first mother to see grade one as the beginning of the end. My rational side says there are a million more milestones on the horizon that will be equally exciting and emotional for us both. The school age years will blend into the teeny-bopper phase and then the tumultuous teens, which I’m told is more painful and rewarding than any valley I have passed through thus far.

And so I reach up and pluck a Batman lunch box off the shelf and put it into a Spiderman backpack and head to the grocery section for a box of fruit-by-the-foot, because after all…he’s only six and it’s only grade one.

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