It came on pretty quickly, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Gregory's birthday is September 15th, 2 weeks before the age cut-off for this district. I had resolved from his infancy to have him start later. I simply didn't want him playing catch-up for 13 years and being the youngest in his class, which I imagine would be a little harder down the road for a boy than a girl.
The district has a highly recommended preschool for a great price, so when I called to enroll him, I was surprised and disappointed when they told me no child who is Kindergarten age is permitted to be in their preschool. We can't afford any of the other ones, yet we felt he was ready to spend more time with other kids and taking on different challenges than he can get at home.
I won't bore you with the internal struggle I fought, but by the end of the day I had called the Kindergarten and everything was set in motion for him to start- exactly 2 weeks later! You might say I was a bit of a basket case. I had been so secure in "knowing" I would have a whole year to prep him for school. He's smart to boot, so it wasn't the academics I was so concerned about. We simply hadn't really discussed it with him.
I was also feeling extremely inadequate. I knew it would be a hard experience, but I hadn't braced myself for it to happen so soon! Suddenly we were buying his Thomas backpack with matching lunch box, a whole new wardrobe, school supplies, getting his physical and shots updated, and really talking it up with him.
The night before was restless for me (I think Gregory slept like a rock, as usual). That morning was bright and exciting. Before we knew it, he was dressed, backpack shouldered, holding his Schultuete, grinning for me as I took his pictures.
On a quick side note, let me explain what a Schultuete is. In Germany, for over 2 centuries, it has been traditional for Kindergarteners to bring a large, decorated cone filled with treats, to share with their new classmates, on the first day of school. My siblings and I all did it, so of course I had to carry on the tradition. I decorated Gregory's with trains and we filled it with wrapped cookies we had baked.
Let me just insert a part of my journal entry from that day:
People have told me since I first held my precious Gregory that “they grow up so fast.” I don’t question that and never have. I guess I’ve just always looked at it more generally. I figured that “before I know it” I’ll be rocking my grandbabies. But after this experience, what I think is even more fleeting is each small stage- not childhood altogether. I hope I can learn from this to make the most of every single stage. Some days may be grueling. I may wish that others would never end. But when all is said and done, I hope I can look back and know I made the most of each chapter of my sweet children’s lives, as long as I’m around to do so.