In one week, my son is going to kindergarten. That’s right, I said it – kindergarten. The beginning of his academic career. New friends. New challenges. New adventures.
And just yesterday…
A few nights ago, I was going to help him do something when he suddenly surprised me with the words that came out of his mouth. ‘I got it daddy.’ And you know what? He did.
He didn’t need my help. Hell, he didn’t even want it. He wanted to do it all on his own – unassisted. All to prove to me, and to him, simply that he could.
As a father I take it on as my responsibility to prepare him for these days – these moments when he’s ready to tackle things on his own. I just didn’t know it would happen so fast. Today he’s dressing himself; tomorrow he’ll be asking for the keys to the car.
I’m sad. I’m happy.
All of his life I’ve been there to protect him. To make sure he didn’t stick a fork in the wall socket. To catch him when he slipped and fell on the wet floor. To hold him when he stubbed his toe on the table.
He’s needed me. And now, he needs me less. Soon, less even more. That’s the way it’s supposed to go, right?
Did I mention I was sad.
I am so proud of my son. He’s growing into a brilliant, beautiful, loving, caring, compassionate young boy. He’s walking proudly and sharing his kindness with everyone he meets. His decisions are good ones (for the most part) and when they’re not, he’s willing to take his punches and learn the lesson. He’s a wise young soul.
As a father, as his father, I grieve the loss of his babyhood. I grieve the loss of his dependence on me. I know it’s the natural process for him to grow; I also accept it’s the natural process for me to grieve – or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
So for now I’ll take all of the ‘dad, can you help me…’ as long as I can. I know some day, they will be fewer and further between. I mean really, they already are.