Today is William's last day of kindergarten. I look at how far he has come since September and I feel deeply grateful. His school has worked with us to build William's confidence in himself and his abilities, and when you measure his growth with this criteria you can see that a lot of internal ground has been covered.
And yet as a mom I get too easily discouraged. I see all of the development still ahead in the future and that makes what has already occurred seem small by comparison. In life, we tend to do this too frequently. We miss the chance to celebrate the achievements because we are so focused on the missteps.
Today, I want to look at the positive things. Kindergarten is a big year for every child. It serves as their introduction to the school environment. It is the transition from home to classroom, from play to learning, and from being the apple of the parents' eye to one of many apples on the tree branch for the teacher.
At the beginning of the school year, William was timid and anxious, complaining about how long the three hours of kindergarten were and begging to stay home with me. By mid-October, he stopped crying at the door and began to adjust to the school routine. From there until late March, he grew and blossomed into an entirely different child: brave, friendly and with better coping skills. I sat back and watched this transformation with thankfulness and joy.
By April, he was struggling again with anxiety and fear. We walked through those ups and downs, but I never stopped wishing he would regain the maturity ground he had lost. But still, the positives outweighed the negatives, and as we close this chapter and look to grade one I can see just how far William has come.
Nothing in life is a straight, easy line. We all face unexpected roadblocks and detours. The key for me as a mom is to untangle my worried expectations with William's performance. I must fight the constant urge I feel to compare him to other kids his age. He is not the same as them, and he should not be measured in this manner.
He is himself. Unique and flawed and tender and beautiful. He is a reed, growing tall by the water's edge, with hopefully enough nourishment from his roots to sustain him as he matures. My job is to love and accept him for who he is, not push him to be something else in order to satisfy my own ideals.
We are figuring out the subtle nuances of our mother-son relationship. It's anything but a straight line, and it's messy as hell, and very often an uphill climb. But then I reach a resting spot along the trail, and the most perfect vista opens up, and the view of where we've been and the glimpse of where we are going is so stunning that it takes my breath away.