I love reflecting back on things. It enables us to see how we have grown or how far we have come. And this couldn’t be more true than with my beautiful Noah. Looking back to this time exactly one year ago, you would not believe it were the same little boy. And the same can be said about the year before that and the year before that one where he wouldn’t leave me side on playdates or go anywhere without me!
It such an amazing feeling for us as moms isn’t it? When we see them gain a certain confidence that was clearly lacking before. Seeing them overcome their fears and take life by the horns. Seeing them become little people who are independent and forming their own opinions. Opinions about more serous things, not just trivial topics that hold no significance. It shows just how much they have matured and grown up, which I guess for some, can also bring with it a sense of loss. That we are losing our little babies and that they are just growing up too fast.
But seeing my little boy run off into his Grade 1 class yesterday, I wasn’t as emotional as I thought I would be. (Would you believe me if I told you I had prepared for the worst and made sure I had tissues in my bag, stocked up on chocolate and made sure there would be wine to have with my dinner last night? – You know just incase my day snowballed from moment when I kissed him off goodbye) Instead, I felt more proud than I ever have of this little boy who just a year ago shook with fear on his first day of Grade R. On day two of Grade 1 he ran to me after putting his fruit in the communal bowl and burst into tears saying ” I can’t do this, I can’t do this!”. It was so hard to witness my boy’s vulnerability because I could see the anxiety in his eyes. I recognised it as my very own, like I could reach in and take it from him. But I couldn’t.
And he ended up settling so beautifully and exceeding everyones expectations in his year in Grade R. But to be honest I was expecting him to struggle with getting into things at the start of a new year. I was a little nervous about the big first day and I found myself tip-toeing around him, watching him a little more closely than I usually do.
But his eyes were filled with excitement the second they opened and he bounced out of bed as though it were christmas! I kept wondering if he was overly confident and if the wheels would come off when we got there, but he got himself dressed (tie and all!) and couldn’t stop smiling and jumping around. We walked to school (HOW lucky are we?) and we struggled to keep up with our over-excited little guy who at one point stopped in his tracks and said something so beautiful and profound.
Just as we approached the start of the school premises he stopped in his tracks and said “Mom look back” and as he looked back at the distance we had walked to get where we were he continued, “look how short the walk is now, it used to feel so long. When I used to walk passed the school before I was in Grade R, the distance seemed SOOOOOOO much longer, and now, it’s like I’ve grown up and it’s so short. It makes me feel, I dunno, it makes me feel like I can do anything now.”
It was the sweetest thing and made me realise just how much he has grown emotionally and developed skills and parts of his character that were struggling a little before. It also made me realise that all kids do things and mature in their own time and with the right encouragement and patience they eventually realise this confidence and are ready to face even their biggest fears.
So moms who are struggling with kids who are anxious and nervous and just generally miserable about school this week, especially those little Grade R’s….. HAVE FAITH my mama tribe. It’s going to get easier and easier and they will eventually get used to their new NORMAL. They will face their fears, just like we all have to at times and become stronger and more independent little people for it.
Keep encouraging them and telling them they can do it. I can remember, when Noah started Nursery School and was going through a particularly bad phase of separation anxiety we started chanting something every morning on our way to school. We would say together ” I’m strong and I’m brave, I’m strong and I’m brave!” All the way through the gate to the front of his classroom we would say these words together. By the time his second term started, his teachers couldn’t believe he was the same child.
Find ways to encourage an open dialogue and to encourage them to express their fears and doubts. Let them know that they are normal to feel like this but that they don’t need to worry, that you are there for them and their teachers will help them with anything they don’t know. Teach them from a young age that asking for help is OK!
This journey of parenting small kids is never an easy task but take courage knowing you are not alone an like most. doing the best you can to make sure your kids feel loved and secure and ready to take on the world!
Love mama Leigh xxx