Thursday, May 29, 2008

School's Out for the Summer

Today was the last day of 1st grade for Nathan. He came home with stacks and stacks of papers and books. He received several accelerated reading awards and a sackful of candy to commemorate this auspicious occasion. Because what would an end of year party be without enough sugar to supply a third world country for a year?

So the school year ends, and the summer begins. When I was growing up, my mom was a schoolteacher, so summer meant 3 months of sleeping late, staying out past sunset with all the kids on the block and sleeping outside in the backyard in a tent. It was long, lazy days with nothing better to do than look at each other and dream.

Unfortunately (or maybe not, depending on how you look at it), I am not a schoolteacher. I work year round and that means that summertime for Nathan and Grace is just some more time spent with the babysitter. Now, I am fortunate enough to have a dear friend who keeps them in her home, but it still means they have to get up early every morning, get dressed and go to Miss Heather's house.

This is one of my big regrets as a working mom. I regret that (for now), my children will not know the joy of anticipating the long summer months at home. For them, it's just another string of days with the same old routine. Well, the same old routine for Gracie anyway. This summer, Heather does not want to keep any school age children, since all of the kids she keeps are Gracie's age and younger. It's too hard to keep all of them entertained and happy.

So this summer, Nathan will be doing some traveling. He leaves tomorrow morning for Washington, DC where he will spend a week with Patrick and Ronna. As a matter of fact, it's the reason that I am sitting here at 11:21pm typing instead of sleeping. I am so nervous for him! He is so excited about flying by himself even though this is the first time he's ever been on an airplane.
I know the airline isn't going to lose him, and I'll be able to walk him right up to the gate and Ronna will be there to meet him the moment he steps off, but I'm still nervous. Worried that he will get scared mid-flight and want me, with absolutely no way to communicate with me. Worried that he will kick the seat in front of him the entire flight and irritate his fellow passengers. (We had a long discussion about flight etiquette earlier)

Anyway, I know intellectually that he will be fine but the maternal instinct to protect and nurture is having a hard time letting go! Ronna has been instructed to call me the very moment she lays eyes on him. I have packed every single document, form and card that he could possibly need while he is away. (I know the birth certificate and SS card are a little overkill, but I can't help it) His baggage has ribbons that match the one on his backpack so he will know which one is his. He has enough food in his carry on to keep the entire front 5 rows of the plane fed and happy for the duration of the flight.

You would think that after seeing to every possible contingency that I would be cool, calm and collected. Congratulating myself on being well-prepared and organized. Secure in the knowledge that I have all the bases covered for him. But I'm still nervous.

I think it really boils down to knowing that I can't do it all for him. Some things he has to do for himself. He might get a little scared without Trevor and me. He might do some things that other passengers do not appreciate, and learn the hard way without one of us to buffer their reactions. But he will learn. He will learn that he can do it on his own, even when he is scared. He will learn to be more aware of those around him, even when we are not there to remind him to behave. He will learn and so will I.

When he lands safely in Houston next Saturday and I have him in my arms, I will have begun to learn the painful lesson of letting go. Of letting him be his own person and not just an extension of me. Of letting him live.


luvmy4sons said...

Aaawwh. I can imagine how scary it is. But I always tell myself it is nothing but an illusion of control. When we are there we think that we can ward off problems or at least deal with them rightly, but truthfully God is the one Who keeps them. They survive in spite of us not because of us. And God's arm is not short. Praying for your little traveler. And for your mother's heart. I will be doing the same when my eldest goes to California for college. But this will grow your little guy-the point of your job. Way to go mom!

Leah in Iowa said...

You are one very brave Mama! You've done all you can to prepare him for the trip. Now you need to "let God". Trust can be so hard sometimes, but it sounds like you've got a handle on it. Keep us posted!

Oh, BTW, what are his plans for the rest of the summer?

The Young's said...

Wow...that would be very hard for me too. Geesh...I have a hard enough time letting my kids ride in a car with someone else...I can't imagine how I would be with them on a plane. You are right though...God will protect him and he will have a GREAT time!!!

As far as summer mom is a school teacher too, and I always remember just sleeping late and doing nothing. I loved it...still do. Wish my KIDS would get a clue! They are still up at the crack of dawn wanting breakfast! UGH!!! I just get up...get them what they want and go back to bed!! i SO love sleeping late. Maybe we will have all mastered it by the end of summer! :) Have a great weekend!

Karen said...

You are a brave mom and Nathan is a brave little boy! Think how great he'll feel when he's accomplished this on his own. By the time your read this, he should be safe and sound at his destination. Enjoy your week:)

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I'm sure he'll have a great time.

Still, this fellow mother's heart feels for you, Xandra. I don't think I would be ready for my six-year-old to get on a plane by herself. (And she's flown so much with us, she has enough miles already for a frequent flyer ticket!) Praying God's peace for you during the separation.

Mocha with Linda said...

Wow. My hat's off to you. I assume he's there by now? PLEASE update us! (Of course, not knowing what time he left. . . but he is losing an hour.) Wish I could give you a hug. You are taking a major step!

And congrats to the little guy on his awards and finishing first grade! There's something about second grade that just sounds so different - more like a big kid. Sigh. And today my guy turned into a sophomore in high school - just yesterday HE was in second grade!!

Crystal said...

Praying for your little guy to have a fantastic trip and for his mommy take comfort that he's in God's hands! :)

Alana said...

Now I'm nervous, too! Letting go of our kiddos is so stinkin' hard! Okay, I need to go read that next post because I think it said something about him arriving safely, my Mommy heart needs to hear that!

Dave and Lisa Swinney said...

Wow! I don't know if I could do that. I hope I would be as calm and cool as you if I had to. I'll be praying for you and Nathan this week.

Andrea said...

Oh, WOW!! You are a brave, brave woman. I don't know if I could do that with a child that age.