I began a practice of sending my mom postcards from a wonderful Canada Post app on my phone, which transformed a photo on the phone to a printed postcard with the space for a message on the back. Every month or so, I would send her one with an update on the family, a photo of my garden or a funny picture of one of us. It allowed her to be connected with us so far away. Now that she is close by, I found that I miss the regular opportunity to share what is new or silly that way.
Writing on a regular basis seems to be a challenge and yet I am so very present to the value of pausing to reflect. So marking the landmark of the first day of school for precious grandson number one is a perfect chance to write a postcard about the event.
As we walked together with his mom and baby brother in the stroller, my sweet grandson would alter between running ahead of us and lagging behind, holding my hand as the pace slowed when we got nearer to the school. I watched his clear brown eyes widen when we got on the grounds with the children filing back in after lunch. They all seemed really big compared to him. The little "kindies" were there for their first time in the classroom, only 90 minutes to meet their kindergarten teachers and stay with their grown-ups to try on a mini session before the first full day.
He is used to group activity, having been in organized daycare pretty much full time since he was two years old so some of the process was familiar. I could see his nervousness though, as he sucked on his sleeve and his finger and stuck pretty close to his mama. I stood back with the wee-est one to let his mom share this experience. I remember the importance of being there for the firsts.
I know he will be fine, he is a strong, resilient dandelion kind of kid, cheerful, happy, funny and bright. He will make friends easily and weather the storms well because he knows he is deeply loved by many people. So, why are there tears as I type this? When I think about the letting go of my own children and how flippin' fast those years went by, I want to freeze frame this tender little being. I want him to be able to keep the soft, loving way he is with the people in his circle. This is a kid who hugged all his friends every day before he left daycare. Insisted upon it, wanted to make sure that his buddies knew he loved them and was going to miss them overnight.
Is there room for that in public school? In the world of boys growing up and comparing themselves with their peers? How do I support him growing up, strong and resilient and yet preserving that sparkling essence that is so bright and visible in him right now? Will it still be okay to hang out with his Grammy and pretend to be space pilots on missions to Pluto?
The grace of grandparenthood is the perspective of having done this before and yet that is also the challenge. I know, like really get it, how soon it will be that he is graduating from high school - a blink of an eye. The brilliant piece of all of this is knowing that the foundation we have built, the rock solid relationship we have will continue and we will talk. We will converse about the crummy teachers and the ones he loves, the rotten kids and the new best friends, the stupid girls and the ones that capture his heart.
When his mom called me this morning just after 9 am in tears, I knew she had just dropped him off for his first full day. I assured her that he will be totally okay, but I know what she was feeling, watching his sturdy little body, in his new school clothes, backpack on and lunchkit in hand, entering a whole new world. Be safe out there, little one. We won't let you forget who you are.