Flying to Florida this month, I found myself sitting next to a woman who had an infant strapped to her front and her adorable son buckled up next to her. I know what it’s like to fly with children, so the mom (and the teacher) in me decided to engage the little boy in writing a story.
He eagerly dictated to me a tale of a family returning home to find their house torn apart by the pet dog. It was the sweetest thing. When he finished, he asked for the pen so he could mark the page with a cross to signify “The End.”
After that moment, I was “in.” His mom chatted the rest of the way and told me the school had told her it might not be a good idea for her son to begin kindergarten this fall. They suggested that waiting another year might give him an opportunity to develop skills, including learning his letters.
“I was just so shocked to hear this,” she said. “I felt horrible. So guilty. How did I miss this?”
My heart could easily empathize. When things don’t go exactly according to plan, isn’t guilt the first place we go? How can we miss something in the middle of trying so hard to miss nothing?
She decided to work with him closely for a few months in hopes the school would reconsider. Sure enough, when she returned a couple of months later, they did.
“We are back on track,” she said.
I wished that young mom the best, but still something about that whole experience keeps coming back to me.
If we had a little more time together, I would want to tell her:
As hard as we try, we won’t always be able to keep our children’s lives “on track.”
And it is important to recognize this isn’t our fault. It’s all just part of the journey.
There are many moments and years ahead. When things feel “off track,” just continue to breathe in this beautiful child. Enjoy each moment–starting with this one.
Look at this face. Look at this darling two-sentence story he just wrote. Share it again and again. If he is ready to go to kindergarten, great. It not, that just means more time with him.
All the moments, the good and the hard, are worth savoring.
And in all of it, there isn’t room for guilt.
Best wishes in this back to school season,