Tomorrow morning, we’ll go to kindergarten orientation. I remind myself, we’ve been here before. Here’s my reflection from three years ago.
My son started pre-preschool last week. A play group, really. No nap, no snack, no time for Mama to go anywhere else to accomplish anything. Just safe, clean, friendly space with skilled and loving teachers helping him and 8 others navigate 90 minutes of indoor and outdoor play space. All this, and train tracks right out the window.
The program’s open door policy allows me not just to watch, but to stay with him in the classroom. This I’ve done every day, leaving a little sooner each time.
I tell myself I’m weaning this way for him.
Our first day is loads of fun – new friends, new toys, an indoor playground with a ball pit. we play all morning and have such a great time at school, he asks to go back when he wakes up from his nap.
We arrive early for day 2, both excited to play.
This is great! I think. He’s having fun. I’m having fun with him and these other kids. I’m contributing constructively to this controlled chaos.
Then comes the teacher’s quiet suggestion, Do you want to try going out for 20 minutes to see how he does?
But I haven’t thought we’d do this yet. But I didn’t tell him I’d be leaving. But I’m not ready. But but but butbutbutbutbut
Answer with words.
So I explain to him calmly and with teacher at his side, he watches Mama go out the door.
and directly to the women’s room to compose myself.
In the Mama’s room, the other mothers and my own eyes reassure me he’s fine. Startled. Wary, but fine. One woman, recognizing the import of the situation, peeks through the mirror then turns to me, “I see he’s doing fine. How are YOU?”
Her kindness is a godsend.
As I watch him through the mirror. As I cuddle his sleepy body. As I wake and roll over in the night, I hear the voices of Sweet Honey in the Rock sing the words of Kahlil Gilbran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
It’s the dreaming part that stops my breath and seizes my heart. Really? I can’t even dream it? But I want to! I want to go too!
In his book, The Path of the Yoga Sutras, Sanskrit scholar Nicolai Bachman translates a core tenet of yoga, “Attachment to that which inevitably changes causes suffering.” He goes on to interpret more about the concept of non possessiveness:
Rejecting the concept of “mine” will be difficult for the ego, but doing so is necessary to progress in yoga. Our ego loves to hold on to things and call them its own. But everything – including the world and ourselves – is always changing, and instead of a rigid ego, we need a flexible heart-mind to navigate these changes comfortably.
He is the son of life longing for itself. And there is freedom in this. Joy. And deep gratitude.
first published October 2011