Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Letting Go

Today was my son Alex’s first day in Pre-K. He starts full time on Monday, but today was orientation. My wife and I stood in his classroom while our son went to another classroom with his new classmates for a couple of hours. He’s in Catholic School so he was decked out in his uniform. The school scheduling is interesting. His class is coed, but on his first day the boys only had to show up. The girls have their orientation tomorrow and the boys are off with Friday being their first day all together.

It’s hard to believe that he’s already four and starting school. Selfishly, I want to keep him at a certain age, a certain time and place, but of course I can’t. But you know what? I don’t even know what that “perfect” age or time would be. Maybe it would be this summer when he became interested in watching sports on TV with me. We share a lot of moments together. But now he knows words like “kill” and “die” when he plays, so a touch of innocence is lost. Or perhaps it was last summer when he was 3 and we went to Sesame Place for the first time. We saw Elmo Show Live and he got all excited when Elmo appeared. Alex screamed, “Elmo! Elmo! Over here!” He was disappointed when Elmo didn’t come over and I still get teary eyed thinking about it. Was that the first time he learned about disappointment?

At least he was excited about school. He woke up this morning and yelled, “We’re going to school today!” I was like him at that age, wanting to start school as well. I don’t know his reasons, but mine were because I had a brother and sister who were 9 and 10 years older than me and I had gotten tired of them leaving me behind when they went to school. I was desperate to grow up, even at an early age, and I missed some of the enjoyment of youth because of it.

My son is growing up fast. I can only hope he doesn’t make the same mistake I did in disregarding the journey for the sake of reaching the destination.

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