When Tyce was 4 I took him to get the shots he needed for kindergarten. The nurse asked him if he was scared of shots, and Tyce said no. So she jabbed the needle in his leg. But Tyce jerked his leg and the needle scratched him all the way down his thigh. As you can imagine he was traumatized--and so was I. The nurse apologized and suggested we try again, but the terror in my little boy's eyes, coupled with his pleading that we stop, tore my heart out. It was all I could to to keep myself from crying there in the office. I scooped Tyce up and said we'd be back later in the week.
In the car I lost it. Everything was too much. He didn't want to go through with it and neither did I. The shots, the flyers for kindergarten orientation, the supply lists, the uniform . . . it was too much. This innocent little boy would be going to school soon, where academic pressures and social corruption would be out of my control. His life would change. And I wasn't at all sure he was ready for that.
I know I wasn't.
On the way home we listened to the Tom Chapin song "Mother Earth's Routine", about the changing seasons. It was almost a new season in my little boy's life. The song says, "And she has reasons, for changing seasons--you have to change to grow . . . you have to change to grow!"
Ready or not, you have to change to grow.
And of course, he did. And maybe I did a little, too.
The reason I mention this is that last night I went to a band parents' meeting at Basic High School.
I was lost, confused, and overwhelmed. What were they talking about? You mean he has a football game before school starts? And band camp for two weeks before that? Wait, you need me to man the concession booth when? Hold on, I need a minute to wrap my head around this.
It was just too much.
He's not ready for this. The school is too big. The pressures are too great.
How can I have a child entering high school?
But he's not the little boy pleading for me to protect him anymore; in fact, like all teenagers, he's quite the opposite. Ready to take on the world, to move on, to grow up.
All I can do is hope that he'll be strong, be smart, be wise . . . be himself.
It's almost a new season. It's like he's outgrowing the safety of the nest; he's ready to spread his wings and fly.
I have to be prepared to let him. Because it will happen whether I'm ready or not.
You have to change to grow.
Ah, yes. He will.
And, hopefully, I will too.