Sometime last week, the thought crossed my mind as I went through the mechanics of packing my baby for college, in between swallowing the lump in my throat a hundred times and excusing myself to bathroom -- where I sat on the tub and ran the water to drown out my sobbing.
This was my own fault, I realized. I should have held Scotty back.
I was a stay-home mom, so Scotty had been home with me every day of his life until he started school. I actually didn’t want to even send him to kindergarten -- I didn’t go myself -- but my husband put his foot down and up to the school for registration I went.
After I filled out some paperwork, the vice principal appeared to go over it. She questioned me about my choice. “You meant to sign him up for pre-K, right?”
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No, I replied. Yes, Scotty had a summer birthday and had only recently turned five, but I had taught him his ABCs, to count to 20, all his shapes and his colors and how to write his own name. I wanted to know how high was the bar for kindergarten entrance.
The vice principal explained to me it was more about social development than knowledge when it came to holding someone back and suggested because of his age he would be better off in pre-K. I said no, my husband and I had decided on kindergarten.
And so Scotty entered school for the first time, in kindergarten. We never had cause to regret our decision for our child.
Until it came time for college.
It dawned on me, that if we had held Scotty back -- all those years ago -- I would have one more year with him at home. The vice principal didn’t mention that one of the benefits to holding a child back was your heart would break a year later.
So Friday, I found myself in another town, in another part of the state, saying goodbye to my baby.
Leaving him and driving off, I was catapulted back to that first day of kindergarten -- the first time he left me. He had his bookbag and his school supplies and barely turned his head to say goodbye when I dropped him off with his teacher. My heart was breaking and he was ready to explore the world.
Friday, as we prepared to leave -- his back to us with his teammates filling out paperwork on the wall for his coach -- again, he barely turned away to say goodbye. My heart was breaking and he was ready to explore the world.
I made it to the car without a tear and about 20 miles down the road before the sobbing could not be contained.
“We should have held him back,” I told Ronnie.
“From what, life?” my ever practical husband replied.
It wasn’t kindergarten that started his journey away from me, I realized as evening fell on our way home Friday night. It was the day I gave birth to him. Every day, every accomplishment, every failure, has been part of his getting ready to go into the world.
On the paper he was so busy with as we were departing was a question about his favorite Bible verse. Scotty put Philippians 4:13.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
That verse speaks to him as an athlete. It speaks to me as his mama leaving him at college, too.
Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467.