When our oldest went to preschool for the first time, I freaked out. I freaked. The hell. Out. And last week, when she went to kindergarten for the first time, I freaked out even more. “The building is so big,” I said. “She’ll get lost out there,” I said. I was sick with worry and dread even though at the exact same time I was more proud of her than I’d been of anyone else in my life.
Our youngest, Isaac, went to preschool for the first time yesterday.
I did not freak out.
I was not sick with worry and dread.
Admittedly, I feel bad about this. It’s not as if each child has a set amount of doting they are required to endure, or that as a second child, we have neglected Isaac by not providing enough attention in the form of brow-dampening anxiety and a reluctance to let go. But it’s still there.
Why don’t I care as much? Why am I not as worried?
Thing is, I do care. I am worried.
If it seems that Isaac is forgotten, I only need to remind myself that he’s receiving the best of both worlds – he gets to experience the freshness of the world without being tied to his father’s cautiousness. Where his older sister gets the parental equivalent of three seat belts and an airbag for every activity, Isaac moves forward with the benefit of a parent who’s already learned a set of mistakes.
Isaac went to preschool for the first time yesterday. He was excited. He was scared. He was able to adapt. He recounted snack time – chips AND chocolate milk – and the day’s activities – trains, dinosaurs, bugs – as if he had written them down in reference.
I was more proud of him than I’d been of anyone else in my life.