Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
My oldest son will be entering third grade this year, and while sending him off to school is not a new experience for me, it is always a little difficult to let go. Since birth he has been by my side, so sending him off into the world and encouraging his independence has not always been entirely easy for me.
I still want to jump in and solve all of his problems, soothe all of his fears, and wipe away any discomfort. Yet, I know this is not possible and is counterproductive to my goal of raising a self-sufficient, free-thinking adult.
As the new school year approaches, I decided my oldest boy and I needed to spend some time together alone. We went for a lovely walk at the beautiful Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy, just the two of us. He's been asked many times over the past few weeks if he is excited to go back to school. He always responds with a shy "yes" because he knows it's what people want to hear.
During our hike I asked him about starting school again. Instead of his usual response he said, "I feel embarrassed. I'm scared I won't know what to do." My initial reaction was to tell him that everything will be okay and then go into my usual one-woman-show on how he doesn't need to feel that way.
Deep down I know that this is a completely normal way to feel, but it still pulls at my emotions to know that while I will always be here for him, I cannot take away all of his worries and fears. I've realized that letting our kids feel emotions, even if they are somewhat unpleasant, is an important part of letting them grow up. So I just squeezed his hand, gave him the space to tell me more if he desired, and kept on walking.
At the end of our walk we came across a tall stack of rocks. He looked at them then turned to me and said, "Mom, if I climb up, will you help me back down?"
Always, my son, always.