As a mother, I associate summer turning into fall with big transitions. As our kids start the new school year, anxieties arise. Even when we might be walking into a wonderful season of motherhood and parenting, we might struggle to make peace with all of the changes that lie ahead.
I am a therapist, co-owner of a business all about relationships and the mother of two boys. I’ve had a lot to process about my firstborn going to Kindergarten. So, I wrote a letter to my son. Of course, the letter isn’t actually for him—it’s for me. Although, I think it might be for all mothers.
To my firstborn son,
I am writing this just shy of two weeks before you start Kindergarten. I keep picturing you with your oversized backpack walking through the enormous doors that lead into the school. I can hear the pitter patter of your little feet and picture the way your eyes look when you are nervous to try something new. I can picture you taking solace in the fact that you put your lovie in your bag so that you can sneak a peek at the small, gray, soft-spotted bird when you start feeling uneasy. The bird I bought you at the hospital the day you were born.
You, my son, are my teacher. You are my wise guide.
I am surprised by how much I don’t want you to go and how much I do want you to go, all at the same time. I think I am more nervous than you are. You told me that you have an affirmation that is going to help you. You looked me in the eyes and said “It’s OK to feel nervous. I will make new friends and I will love Kindergarten.” I am surprised by your quiet confidence and your courage.
The not wanting you to go is of course about me and not about you. So much of parenthood, the transitions, the challenges, are about the parent. So much of my fears and feelings are about what I did not receive. They are about the ways in which I wasn’t seen. You, my son, are my teacher. You are my wise guide. You are teaching me to let go, to trust and to lean into the process.
I am scared of what the world will do to my precious boy.
I am scared you will feel different and like you don’t belong.
I am scared you will lose your curiosity, one of your greatest gifts.
I spent much of my early childhood feeling anxious. I did not have the tools, the language or an attuned mirror to help ease my pain. You are not me. I am not you. You come from me, but we are separate. My fears are not your fears.
So, my son, as you move towards your future, I will rest easy knowing that you will be just fine because you already have everything you need.
I am holding space for you.
All my love and gratitude, Mama
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