Tomorrow, my son Adam will take his first step into a larger world. Much to my chagrin, he’s not becoming a Jedi (yet), but he is attending his first day of kindergarten. Adam, his mom and I met with his teacher a few days ago, forked over some cash for supplies and an upcoming school barbecue, and now that we’ve had that initial visit, it’s time for Adam to meet his new classmates.
I posted this photo and many friends commented, wishing him luck or remarking how happy he looks to be starting school.
In addition to the well-wishers, there were a few comments along the lines of “cherish it now! They grow up so fast, it’s like the blink of an eye!” To which, I say: no. They do not grow up so fast. Allow me to elaborate.
I feel like the first 5 years of parenthood have gone by at exactly the right pace. One day at a time. We only feel as if it’s a blink of the eye in retrospect, because our memories aren’t capable of retaining the details of every single day – only the moments significant enough to form a core memory (to borrow a little Inside Out parlance).
So I will cherish it, absolutely. I will retain the big moments and the small, and look forward to the ones yet to come. When my boy is an angsty teen, I might pine for the days he bursted with wonder, but I might also selectively forget the almost impossible level of patience it sometimes takes to parent a young child.
I might forget how difficult it was to have a conversation with other adults, or how often I had to look over my shoulder to ensure he wasn’t accidentally killing himself. The bond between parent and child changes over time, as it does in any relationship, and there are special and not-so-special things about every stage.
Adam’s world is expanding. His social circle is expanding. He’s taking on new social challenges, a new language and a new schedule. That’s a lot for a kid who is not quite five years old. I’m going to do my best to soak in moments as they come, but more than anything, I’m going to do my absolute darnedest to support my tiny human as he navigates school.
Best of luck, kiddo. I love you.