A few weeks ago, I sent my first-born to school for the first time. Let me set the stage for you.
It’s the first day of school for my oldest son, and at 6:45 a.m. he’s awake, nervous, excited, and hungry. As he gets ready for school, my wife and I are trying to be supportive and excited for him. We tell him how great it will be and how he is going to have so much fun, but inside we each are experiencing sadness. We weren’t sad because he was going to school, but rather because a season of parenting was dying.
Not too long ago, we welcomed this boy into the world. We saw his first smile, and gave him his first haircut (which was a not-so-great experience). We watched him crawl, then walk, then destroy the walls of our home. We had the privilege of hearing him say his first word and attempt to eat his first bowl of spaghetti.
These are moments that make up the first few years of parenting. Now those moments have passed and things will be different. Different isn’t bad; in fact I think in many ways it will only get better. Over the last week I have found myself thinking about the fact that this change represents the end of an era.
So, what do we do when an era ends? Well, we often memorialize the past. We put rotary phones in a museum and talk about the good ol’ days. With kids, I guess you can bronze their shoes. Do people still do that? My solution is to pray and let go.
My kids are not my own. Although they look like me and have all my bad habits, they are not mine. I believe that my kids are essentially God’s. So, I try to remember this and realize he loves them more than I could ever love them. I guess the end of an era is just the beginning of a new one.
It’s been a few weeks now of my son going to school. Although I am still a little sad, I have realized a few things.
First, the house is so much quieter when he isn’t here; who knew how much easier it is to have one kid around instead of two!
More importantly, I’ve learned that he thrives in school. He is making friends and potentially girlfriends (that conversation is coming so much sooner than I thought it would).
I guess the best realization is that he doesn’t need us as much as he used to. As sad and as ego-damaging as that sometimes feels, it’s great news.
Ok, now I’m off to have my first of many awkward conversations about girls…