A New Season
There are so many seasons in parenting. Each new school year seems to mark the beginning of another season. From the too big backpack on your preschooler to the last first day of high school and all the in between, each new school year builds your baby into the person they will soon become.
One of the most bittersweet parts of parenting is in the letting go. We let go first a little at a time, in small ways until we suddenly find ourselves letting go all at once.
We wave goodbye to our tiny preschooler and give one last kiss and hug as they disappear into those big doors where a new world filled with new experiences and new friends awaits. It feels like the world is just too big for our baby and we know it’s true what they say, once they start school, time accelerates.
Then suddenly we find ourselves with a middle schooler. We have all been in middle school and we remember it well (even though some of us wish we could forget). The angst. The pressure. The insecurity. The awkwardness. The fitting in. The standing out. Middle Schoolers are too cool for one last kiss and hug by now, but with a half hearted wave and a shaky smile, we see our big kid off and hope the big world of middle school doesn’t swallow them whole.
High school. We know how fast that four years goes by now and it feels like yesterday that their tiny little hand fit inside ours. Now their hands are bigger than ours and they are caught in that strange, exciting stage between kid and adult. The next four years are going to be busy. They are going to come into who they are, they’re going to learn so much about themselves, and their unsteady place in the world is going to become more solid. They don’t know it yet, but these days are going to be some of the most exciting and free days of their lives. They will make so many new memories and they will learn to take up a little more space in their corner of the world. It will be a constant push and pull between wanting to remain in the safety net of childhood and the comfort of a home base and getting ready to spread their wings to fly. A constant battle for more independence. We wave goodbye with a quick “I love you”, remembering that little four year old looking back over their shoulder on their first first day.
Each new first day is a step into a new season. Some seasons will be filled with curiosity, growth, and excitement. Others will be grueling and difficult, and that’s where they will develop the most. Those seasons are where they will be built. Where they learn to navigate the challenges.
On the first day of this new season, as you wave goodbye to your baby (that isn’t such a baby anymore), I wish you a year filled with lessons, growth, friendship, learning, and lots of happy new memories. Linger for a few seconds and take in this moment, because no matter which season you’re in, this one will fade into the next faster than you can imagine.