9.01.2017

transitions.

I created this blog the month we decided to try to have our first child. My first entry came shortly thereafter, when I learned I was pregnant. That was how life worked then: obnoxiously according to plan. There was nothing I couldn't plan and nothing I didn't know about pregnancy and childbirth. Of course, life happened and our little world and family spun a bit off course (to put it a little softer, anyway). I stopped being able to plan for anything at all and now, six years into this blog, that kid who began as a couple pink lines on a test is now an elementary school student.

Like most things in my Life As I Now Know It, I worried about elementary school for a myriad of reasons. There were the articles shared like wildfire on social media about the horror of school, of course, but there was also the fact that this sweet little precious baby was my baby and how am I supposed to bottle up six years worth of bonding and memories and fun and pass him off into the next phase? How, life? How?! Despite digging my heels, this one had an easy answer: because he wanted to go, and I had to follow him. Kindergarten came and in walked Ethan to a beautiful classroom in an incredible school with a magnificent teacher and he felt at ease. He goes in with a smile and he leaves with a smile and if I'm really lucky, I get a "guess what I did today?!" the moment our eyes meet at dismissal time. And that six year old? That tall, beautiful, incredible six year old boy who I had the privilege of spending six years teaching, nurturing, caring for? He's still my baby.

Kindergarten has been a lesson, for me, in soaking in the transitional period of childhood. That scary time when your toddler-preschooler hybrid loosens your grip and slowly begins morphing into an actual child who isn't as reliant on you as they once were. You see, there's still so much to take in during this phase. It's not all woe and sadness and longing for the meandering afternoons of cuddles and stories you've read again and again and again (and again). At this phase, I remember his Dallas Clayton hi-top Vans and the way he still needs me to tie them for him. I remember the after-school smell of sweat and the way he asks me to add things to the grocery list all of the time now ("next time you go to the store we definitely need more of this peanut butter"). While I miss the nights of laying with him until he fell asleep, which ended with his sixth birthday, I don't want to cry too much and miss the way he still needs me to check on him every few minutes until sleep comes. "Come back in one minute," he will say. Or "three minutes this time." Eventually I peek in and whisper I love you and he is fast asleep. At this stage, he loves puns and writing stories and asking questions that make you feel as if you're part of an interview of some kind ("what is the second best day of your life?" "Which do you like better, The Lumineers or Iron and Wine?").

Parents of older children are always assuring me that each stage is priceless. As each stage comes to an end, it seems so hard to believe that anything will be as precious and sacred as the phase we are about to leave behind. But that's the thing with children: they are made of magic, and every phase simply fades into a new one just as beautiful as the one that preceded it.



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