Well, it’s happened. Like every other kid, mine has gone ahead and grown up. I mean, he isn’t sprouting a dirty ‘stache or anything, but he’s old enough to head off to school. And with this realization comes a whole lot of freak outs on mom’s part.
Let’s run through a list of these (sometimes unreasonable) fears, shall we?
1. EK will recognize the awesomeness in other kid’s parents and trade up. You laugh, but I bet there is some truth to Shel Silverstein’s “Clarence Lee from Tennessee.”
Then one day he looked and saw
‘A brand-new Maw, a better Paw!
New, improved in every way —
Hurry, order yours today!’
So, of course, our little Clarence
Sent off for two brand-new parents.
The new ones came in the morning mail,
The old ones he sold at a garage sale.
His departure probably won’t be as obvious as him selling us off, but I bet the kids who have cookies in their cupboards (because their moms’ maintain a modicum of self-control) will be hosting gatherings more often than us.
2. He’ll never call me. First Kindergarten, then college and then he’s 12,000 miles away living in Kyrgyzstan and only calling me when his special friend reminds him to drop a line the day after my birthday. But I won’t be mad because we’ll listen to his weird man-voice regaling us with colorful adventures from his life in Central Asia.
3. He’ll inevitably experience heartbreak. It will likely be brutally painful and there is nothing I can do to stop it.
4. He’ll be too busy to hang out with his lame-ass parents. My Aunt Donna gave me some good advice a few years ago: Spend your money traveling and hanging out, not fancifying our house while EK is only moderately embarrassed by his roots. I’m guessing that by age 17, I could offer him a booze cruise where they stuff all the insufferable parents into the ship’s hold and he’d still refuse to go. Jerk.
Just a few weeks ago, before biking down the block some new friends, he turned to look at me and said, “See you later, mama,” and I just about died.
5. School will destroy his confidence. I’m doing my best to ease into the standardized testing/school funding/bullying etc. forums, however, it’s nearly impossible to not question what the future holds for little guys and gals in this system we’ve created. Plus I’m sure my vigorous waves at the drop-off/pick-up line won’t help his “cool” status much.
6. I HAVE TO MAKE LUNCH FOR HIM EVERY DAY? Look at these ridiculous sons of bitches putting the pressure on us regular people. Screw you guys (though you deserve some straight up credit for this craziness).
This is beyond my ability as a parent. Seriously. I say he’s responsible for making his own damn lunch and can totally survive on goldfish, milk, mangos and mustard.
But I am also incredibly excited for him. He’ll soon know the energy that surges through young bodies on the first (and last) days of school.
He’ll be inspired by some teachers and learn how to navigate classes taught by the bad ones.
He’ll have his friends sign his t-shirts at the end of each school year and take awkward yearbook pictures.
And before that heartbreak will be sweet, gushy, electrifying love.
But to hell with those lunches.
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