I remember when I took my first child, Madison, to kindergarten. She had missed the cut off date for starting kindergarten by one day of the previous year. So, when she finally went to kindergarten, she was going to be six years old the next week. She was already reading and was excited about school. She was ready and that made it easier for me to take her to school for the first time.
After dropping her off at kindergarten, my son (then 3 years old) and I began our walk home that morning. Even though he was totally capable of walking on his own, I scooped him up and held him. As he wrapped his arms and legs around me like a monkey does with his mother, my eyes welled up with tears. I was thinking that when I took him to school, I would not be holding on to another baby. He would probably be my last. I thought, “Thank God I still have another baby at home to hold on to.” I held him the whole way home which was about 1/2 mile. My back was killing me by the time I got home, but I didn’t care. I wanted to hold on to this moment as long as I could.
Isn’t it funny how God has plans that are different from ours? In God’s infinite wisdom, He chose to give us child number three. So, on the day I took Nathan to kindergarten and dropped him off, I began the walk home that morning with my three month old daughter in the stroller. She had had enough of the stroller, so as I pushed the stroller with one hand and carried my baby in the other hand on that long walk home, my eyes welled up with tears. I thought, “Thank God I still have another baby at home to hold on to.”
Next week, I will take my last baby to kindergarten. There will be no more babies at home for me to hold on to, and I imagine it will be an emotional time for me. It is the end to an era of raising my preschoolers and that part is a little sad for me. However, I have been raising preschoolers for 13 years, and there is another part of me that is ready to move on to the next phase in my life.
In a song called I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues by Elton John, there is a lyric that says, “Don’t wish it away, Don’t look at it like it’s forever.” I don’t want to wish away this time. I know it is a treasure, but I know there will be treasures down the road as well. I do know this is the whole goal of parenting ultimately. To raise them up and let them go. It is just hard to do as a parent sometimes, isn’t it?
When our first child, Madison, was about two weeks old, my husband was holding her. He looked up at me and said, “She is never leaving this house.” What he was really saying was that he didn’t ever want to let her go, but at some point it will be the right thing to do. The whole point of parenting is to raise them up to let them go. A friend once told me that parenting should be like an inverted pyramid. When the kids are younger, there is lots of control by the parent and very little freedoms. However, the older the kid gets the more freedom they should be allowed, more individual problem solving, and more responsibility given to where at the end they are given it all. They are able to go out into society, and God willing, be good, productive citizens and adults.
So, next week when I am leaving my daughter at kindergarten, I will know that I am working my way up the pyramid. Working toward a greater goal. To raise them up and let them go. But as for now, I still have my babies (because they will always be my babies) at home with me, but just for a little bit less time every day. And when I ask them if they will still let me hug and kiss on them when they are older and have their own families, they say yes. I guarantee I am going to hold them to that one!