Books, places, kids shows, movies, songs and even school projects all hold so many memories for me. All three of my boys attend/attended the same preschool and elementary school. Preschool routines are especially familiar to me. Since 2010 I have had a child in preschool. That’s eight years of sharing lunches at home, library visits, board games after school and TV time together. Of course things have changed over the years. Christian’s routine always included an after school nap. Anthony’s did for a while, and Nicky’s never really did. It’s the nature of three children! Nevertheless, the time spent with my preschoolers was, and is, so precious.
Just yesterday I needed to make an appointment for six months in the future. This brought us to September. Naturally, I made the appointment in the morning. That has been my routine as a mom of a preschooler. We always need to make the most of those free morning hours! When the receptionist asked me if 11:15 would work, I began to ask for an earlier appointment. With a child in preschool, my free time usually ended around 11:30. It was in that moment that reality came crashing down around me. I was no longer “tied down” to that schedule. Audibly, I gasped and accepted a strange look from the receptionist. I filled her in on the fact that 11:15 would be perfect because I had no little person depending on me to pick him up anymore. My heart sank. It has been more than 24 hours and I still cannot shake the feeling. It comes as no surprise that my youngest will be in Kindergarten next near. It also does not come as a surprise that it will be a huge adjustment for me.
Most moms have similar feelings when their youngest spreads their wings and flies off to Kindergarten. For me, my feelings are slightly more complicated, or at least I think they are. This is all I know. My youngest child going off to Kindergarten means I will no longer be a mother to a child who is actively living the same routine as my angel lived most of his life. Christian spent half of his life in preschool, maybe a little more. His preschool routine determined what I did the rest of the day. He was the oldest and so his routine truly dictated the rest of our routines. There will be no more midday visits to the park, unexpected pizza lunches just because, or midday Disney shows playing in the background.
With my youngest son finishing his last year in preschool, it is easy to make active comparisons between my angel’s life and my living children because he experienced many of the same things. I am painfully aware that once my youngest son completes Kindergarten, these similarities will no longer exist. The sadness, fear and anxiety that this leaves me feeling is daunting. I know it will be okay. My two younger sons will make their own experiences and memories, This is part of moving forward. It is why I fight so hard every day. My children deserve the same love and involvement from me that my angel had. It’s painful to recognize that my youngest son is getting close to surpassing my angel in age. Will memories still be as easy to recall? Will they be as relevant since my living children are not experiencing them anymore? Will he leave others’ minds and memories? It’s scary. Unfortunately, only time will tell. I know that I will never forget him or our beautiful memories. I also know what I need to do to move forward, with my family’s well being in mind. As I have learned these past three years, this is all I can control. Love to heaven always…