Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Ready or not, here I grow!
Wow - I am so not ready for kindy! Before the time, it is possible to get away with thinking you are going to handle it - a few hours of alone time (or at least, twin-free time) in which you can potter, do your own thing, catch up on the housework, or whatever. And then the time is finally on you, and all of those things are suddenly meaningless and a bit daunting.
Almost four now, my two are ready to take that step into kindergarten. I spoke to the kindergarten teacher on the phone, just to prepare her for the boys' imminent arrival, but they were well ahead of me - turns out they have no less that four sets of identical twin boys at this particular kindy! I spoke of my apprehensions, of how the boys have never been away from me before and about how I was worried that they might not be able to cope. "Don't worry," she said, "it's perfectly normal for there to be a few tears when they start out." Boy - was she spot on! Unfortunately, when she mentioned tears, I just naturally assumed she meant on the part of the boys.
As a result of our conversation, I talked the process through with the boys a few times, that we would be going to a really fun place where they would meet lots of lovely friends and have a great time for a few hours every day by themselves. We spoke about how they might be worried, but that I would always be there to pick them up and then we could talk about all the wonderful things they had been doing and learning about in the car on the way home. I also took them to visit the kindergarten a few times in the afternoons so that they would be familiar with the environment and where everything was.
So by the time the day came today, they were well-prepared and really looking forward to it. The sense of anticipation in the car was high, with much chatter and giggling. They both had their favourite Spiderman T-shirts on, to give them a bit of courage - nothing like a good old alter-ego to help you through a difficult situation. I watched them in the rear-view mirror as I drove - they both looked so small and yet so grown-up at the same time, sitting in their car-seats, swinging their legs excitedly. They're just babies still, I thought to myself. I nervously got them out of the car and gave a last reassuring pep-talk on the way in.
And then, as soon as we walked in through the gate, I barely had time to say goodbye to the boys. "Bye!" they both shrieked and they were off into the depths of the kindy, running around with the other boys and shrieking with laughter. I didn't hardly see them again until it was time for us to leave.
That kindergarten teacher was right. There were lots of tears. But none of them from my dependent little ones whom I was setting free to face the big world by themselves for the first time.
The tears were all mine.
Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
with the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.
That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature's give-and-take - the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one's irresolute clay.
I had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show-
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.