My baby starts kindergarten tomorrow. Not the real baby, of course. The fact that he sometimes sleeps through the night is a big enough milestone for him. No. It is my first baby.
Cameron. The five-year-old. (How the heck do I have a five-year-old?)
(I mean. Actually how? I am twenty-nine years old. This reality does not compute in my mind when I actaully think about it. A kid in school. Three kids in total. I don’t feel adult enough for this!)
I seriously didn’t think school would be an issue for me. Yes, a year ago I sure freaked out about it. But as the time got closer, I thought I would really celebrate this new chapter in Cameron’s life. He is just such a smart little cookie that school is going to be awesome for him. I’m really excited for him and was looking forward to it.
But now, here we are, in the same week that school starts and, I promised I would never do this, but I just need to pause time and make him my baby again and then hold him tightly and keep him like that for a while. Oh, to kiss those round little cheeks again and to snuggle with my happy little boy who wanted his Mama.
Now, he would just like Daddy to drop him off at school alone, please. (Not gonna happen).
I drive by the school and I feel anxious. Friends post other first-day-of-kindergarten photos and I freak out. I try so very hard not to dwell on the reality because maybe that will keep me a little more level-headed about everything. (Or not.)
My life is full of things I can’t let go of. My husband tells me I have hoarding tendencies. (Wouldn’t it be kinder to just say I am sentimental about things?) Well, if we’re going to be critical, my husband likes to get new things so he has no problem chucking the old. He likes to spend, I like to save, and yes, that means saving everything around the house. What if we need it again? I don’t let go easily.
I will celebrate each new milestone, I told myself. I will enjoy their present, not dwell in the past, I told myself. I will remember that keeping them babies forever would actually mean that something is very wrong, that babies aren’t necessarily easy, that my goal as a parent is to help them grow up, etc, etc, etc.
But I want to hold on. I want to keep him to myself for a little bit longer. I want to hoard his time as he gradually grows up. There are no what if’s. I will never have Cameron-baby, Cameron-toddler, or Cameron-preschooler again.
It is times like these when I realize that milestones aren’t necessarily just new exciting things. They also represent a letting-go. A moving-on.
I recently got an email about what’s new on Netflix – and what is going away. The main thing that caught my eye was that Bubble Guppies will be done streaming on the service by September 22nd. To really understand how hard it is for me to let go, this news legitimately upset me. Bubble Guppies has been a staple in this household for a while. The songs are great. The kids interact with it and learn things. But most importantly, they love the show – especially Gavin. I can still picture him sitting on the couch and singning the Bubble Guppies theme song a year ago, as we were wondering about his verbal skills. As a family, we’re going to a Bubble Guppies live show this fall that I set aside important things in my day to ensure I got tickets that sold out quickly. And so, when I saw that Bubble Guppies will be leaving Netflix, I felt personally attacked. How could you, Netflix?
Except… I’m not quite sure when my kids last asked to watch Bubble Guppies. Sure, not having Bubble Guppies means that Logan won’t get to watch the show, but for my television-watching children now, maybe they’ve moved on without me even noticing it.
Now, all I hear about is Dinotrux. Dinotrux is Netflix’s new animated series about dino-machines. It’s totally brilliant. In the same way that I have always said the creators of Dinosaur Train were geniuses for taking two totally unrelated things that children love and putting them in a show together, Dinotrux has done the same thing, and it is undeniably a hit.
My boys have moved on and I barely noticed it. And it seems as though they won’t notice as a show that we love slips from the Netflix lineup.
I think, maybe, raising children is all about these small little acts of letting go, mostly unnoticeable, in exchange for growth and maturity and new experiences. When the big, noticeable, first-day-of-school type milestones hit, all those things we’ve already let go of start coming into focus. But, let’s not miss what we’re embracing with these changes.
This anxiety isn’t about Cameron. He’s going to rock school. He’s going to love learning and making friends and creating and playing. I have no doubt about it.
So, this anxiety is all about me. And I need to let that go.
I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team and as such I have been compensated with a complementary Netflix subscription and a few other perks. The stories and opinions are all my own and have not been influenced.