Feeling Obsolete

And so another school year begins.  It was the first day of school for my youngest today – something I’ve befirst day of schoolen dreading for a while now.  But she was ready to go.  Unlike when my oldest went, Abby had no anxiety or apprehension; she said she just had excited butterflies in her tummy.  She’s so comfortable with the school, knows all the teachers and even many of the kids that she was probably ready to go long ago.

As my husband and I got out of the car this morning to walk all three kids into school, I realized how my children have matured and grown.  How they stretch the apron strings as far as they need to until they finally choose to let go.

My oldest, a fifth grader this year (the oldest kids in the school) walked ahead of us a few steps.  He’d done this first day of school thing before.   He was concentrating on getting into the gym to sit with his friends before they were dismissed back into their classrooms.  He didn’t even look back.  He didn’t wave or shout “Bye!” over his shoulder.  In fact, I don’t think that my husband even saw him after we went through the doors of the school.

My middle daughter, a confident third grader, was happy to go back to a routine, be with her friends and experience a new teacher.  She held my hand as we crossed the street, but then let go and turned to give a quick kiss on the cheek as she jetted into the gym with a smile.

Afirst day of school3nd our youngest, our little social butterfly, said hi to the teachers as we walked past them on the way to her kindergarten classroom.  She found her seat right away, put up her backpack, gave a hug to a new friend, and sat down to work on the art project on her desk.

I looked around the classroom and saw all the parents standing back watching their little ones become independent before our eyes.  I was honestly feeling a little obsolete and unneeded.  She was getting ready to have experiences apart from with me and I felt a little left out.  These little ones around whom much of my world has turned have begun to spin off into orbits different than mine.

I realized that we as parents are constantly entering new phases of our lives.  We take on new and different roles as parents – perhaps more of the educator, chauffeur and homework drill sergeant as we progress through school.  But having these new roles doesn’t mean our old ones don’t apply.  In the quiet of the dark, as bedtime is upon us, these growing children still want our love and our affection.  They want to be snuggled, kissed and deeply loved.  We just have to find new andfirst day of school2 creative ways to show our children we love them.

So I shed more than just a few tears and smiled knowing that this confident independence is what we want for our children.  We have instilled within them the knowledge that where ever they may go, whatever they experience, and whoever they meet, they will always have loving arms that support, hug and love them.

We are not obsolete.  We may have been the center of their worlds as they began their lives, needing us for food, entertainment, and care.  But now we are more like the anchor in their lives, holding them secure through all the choppy storms of life and helping them know where they are and where they belong when the waters are calm and still.

Our roles may have changed but our identities never will.  We will always be their parents and they will always be our dear little ones – even when they grow to be taller than we are!  We will always dream for them, pray for them, and love them, even as they walk their own kindergarteners off to school.

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