The other day I was buying school supplies for Cameron as he is about to start Kindergarten. All those school supplies got me excited for school, just like I used to get when I was about to start the school year. In my enthusiasm, I said to Cam, “This is so exciting that you’re about to start Kindergarten!” He responded, “So you don’t have to spend time with me all day?” Ouch. Apparently he had overheard me talking to friends about how I was looking forward to having him in school every day so I could have more time with Anna. And of course he missed the part about my being sad that he was going to be gone so much. His question made me feel about an inch tall. I think I just won the Worst Mother of the Year award.
But I have found the silver lining: This experience has really made me think more carefully about the transition that’s about to take place in my son’s life, and I’ve realized that I don’t have the relationship that I need/want to have with him before he goes off into the world–the kind of relationship that ensures that he will want to come back and talk to me about what’s going on in his life and tell me about the good and the bad that happens and ask me the tough questions and still prefer spending time with Mom to spending time with anyone else (at least occasionally). So for this last month before school starts, I am determined to build that relationship as much as I can. I’ve been making a valiant effort to control my temper and not lose patience with him, I’ve made a point to spend at least a few minutes of one-on-one time with him every day, and occasionally I’ll do something really amazing, like leave the sink full of dishes to play on the slip-and-slide with my kids. While I sometimes get the feeling that he knows I’m trying to be good and is determined to push me to my limit to see if I’ll crack, I think we’re making some progress. I just pray that on that first day of school, when I drop him off, he will go with the sure knowledge that his mom loves him and will be there anxiously awaiting his arrival home at the end of the day.