(First day of 3rd grade)
“I don’t like change,” Cole said solemnly one day. “I’m like a cat that way.”
No, he doesn’t like change; I really don’t either. Not too many people I know do like change, but change is inevitable.
And change is a-coming.
When he walks out of his school – the school he has attended since kindergarten – this Friday, he won’t be returning in the fall. Third grade will be in a different and new school come August.
He knows this already, we have already been to the open house at his new school. He’s excited and liked the school and the teachers. But like he said, he doesn’t like change. And like I said, I don’t either.
I felt a little bit nostalgic the other day, so I pulled out some photos of Cole from kindergarten. I couldn’t believe how much he had changed, how much he had grown. It pulled at my heartstrings more than a wee bit.
I thought of how much he had evolved and the things he had learned, challenges he had overcome and how he was growing up to be just what I wanted him to be – a kind-hearted, compassionate person. And I also realized that there had been so many other women who have touched my son’s life over the past three years and knew it was going to be hard for both of us to leave them.
I’ve always believed that the truly great teachers were ‘called’ to teach and Cole has been fortunate to have had some ladies that I know must have wings and halos they hang on their nightstands each night.
I thought of how these women had encouraged him, helped him, and celebrated every milestone along the way with the both of us.
I thought of how my shy little boy would come home excited over being picked to have a role in a program. How each one of his teachers brought out different, wonderful traits in my child and nurtured those traits fully.
A few teachers, he had since his first day there. It was going to be hard for him to not see those familiar, smiling faces next year. Even some of the teachers whose class he hadn’t been in knew his name in the hall.
It was going to be hard for me, too. Maybe harder. These precious women had become my allies, my friends. They patiently tolerated my neurotic style of mothering, my questions, my worries and fears. What I was worried about, I am still not sure other than I think I have a child so worry is top of the job description.
I don’t know anyone at the new school, didn’t know any of the teachers – would they understand that I am a chronic worry-wart and a tad bit overprotective? Would I be able to walk Cole in each morning or did they frown over that. Am I going to like the people? Were they going to like me?
Then I realized I hadn’t known anyone when he began kindergarten and it had turned out to be better than I could have thought.
“I’m going to miss my teachers, Mama,” he said again just this weekend. “They’ve been a part of my life and I don’t like saying goodbye.”
I understood. I was going to miss them too. I promised him I would take him back to visit from time to time, so we both could stay in touch with these special people that had come into our lives and for a few short years, been part of this process of learning, life and growing up.
And it occurred to me, in the most beautiful of ways, that it does indeed take a village to raise a child. And both Cole and myself had been all the better for being a part of it.