My eldest son is starting Kindergarten tomorrow. I've known since before he was born that this day was coming, and yet I still find myself horribly unprepared. I'm not concerned about how he will do in school, at least not academically. I'm scared for him as he learns to navigate the frightening social environment that is riding the bus and dealing with classmates.
I hate the thought of him sitting on the bus all alone, or worse yet, sitting with the wrong people. Some kid who might be mean to him or make fun of him for being shy and quiet or try to bully him into doing something wrong. I don't want him to feel alone or ostracised. I basically don't want him to have to deal with the hard or negative parts of growing up.
I know that is completely unrealistic. I know that we all become who we are based on learning to deal with the people around us. I know that he must learn how to interact with people to reach adulthood with the ability to cope, to rise above, to navigate friendships, and to make good choices.
But I think the real reason this bothers me is that there is something so final about the first day of Kindergarten. Yes, it's the first day of something exciting for him. Yes, I'm excited for him. I'm excited to see what he loves to learn about, to hear about the friends he makes, and to watch him grow in this whole new way. But his first day of Kindergarten is also the the last of him being home every day with us. It's the last day of me being able to call from work to check and see what he's up to. I know he will always be my son, but after tomorrow, things won't be the same. Which is good, but for me, it's very bittersweet.