The Old Mom

Eight years ago, I went to a Kindergarten orientation meeting. C.(13) was about to enter Kindergarten and I was there to learn all about the program, the curriculum, the teachers. I wanted to be sure that this school was, indeed, the right place for him, and that I knew all the details I would need to get the entire process underway.

As I sat in the school’s library, waiting for the orientation to begin, I noticed another mom that I recognized from our church. In an attempt to be friendly, I introduced myself and asked if this was her first time at the school — if she, like me, was checking things out in anticipation of sending her first child there.

“Oh no,” she replied. Then she went on to tell me that one of her kids had already graduated from the school, and another one was still there, in one of the upper grades. She was at the orientation in anticipation of her third child starting Kindergarten there.

She knew the ropes, knew the school, knew the teachers, knew the curriculum.

Basically, she was there to get the enrollment forms.

***

Last week, I attended another Kindergarten orientation meeting at that same school. This time, it was for L.(5).

And this time, I was the experienced mom. Or, as it seemed to me last week, the old mom.

I know the ropes, know (most of) the teachers, am familiar with the curriculum, know the school.

I was mostly there for enrollment forms…and to see if any big changes had occurred during the previous 7+ years.

Having widely-spaced kids has its own unique set of pros and cons. Mostly, it’s been a great fit for our family.

But I have to admit, things felt weird last week at that meeting. I’d been out of the Kindergarten loop for quite a long time, yet there I was again, at another orientation, starting all over at the school with my second-born.

I watched the young moms and young couples. They were full of questions, making every effort to ensure this school would be perfect for their little ones. They inquired as to the academic rigor of the reading program, the “opportunities for enrichment,” whether or not there would be a naptime.

I didn’t ask a single question. I knew the school was a good school, but I’d also learned that no school is perfect. I knew L. would learn plenty, but that he’d also have fun. Since C. is still at the school — in seventh grade now — I was familiar enough with all the details to just sit back and listen.

Basically, I knew…it would all work out.

But I remember being that first-time mom, the one full of questions, the one working on creating that perfect Kindergarten year for her son.

***

Being the old mom isn’t so bad, I guess. Yes, I’m eight years older (which comes with its own set of pros and cons). But there’s a comfortable familiarity that comes with it. Or maybe it’s just tiredness, masquerading as comfortable familiarity.

It’s hard to believe that almost eight years have passed, though, since I sent C. off to Kindergarten. And even harder to believe that both of my boys will be climbing on that school bus next fall.

Going from new mom to old mom, in retrospect, happened very, very quickly.

Comments

  1. Oh, Katrina, i am a first time mom, and thinking a lot about H’s starting kindergarden soon. My struggles are not choosing between schools, but choosing between public school and homeschool. This is giving me a head ache, thinking a lot, want H to be in a good environment, at the same time, don’t want him to be separated from us for too long….Uhhhh, as a parent i never felt as much responsible for the future of my child as i do now…thanks for sharing your thoughts…

    • Oh Munisa, I know — those decisions can be really agonizing, especially the first time around. I promise, it does get easier with the next child, usually. (But of course, by then, you’re on to NEW agonizing decisions with the older child!) I know you love H. very much and you will weigh all your options to make the best decision for him and for you.

  2. Oh to be the experienced mom.. I have felt this in the bringing home a new baby for the first time vs. having an almost 5 year old.. somehow I became the experienced one. I have often wondered about big age gaps and how that looks for families.. I hope we have an age gap at some point :-)

  3. As you know — with my own widely-spaced kids, this was me as well! I don’t notice it as much with Kyle being in 2nd grade now. I guess b/c even the young/new moms have settled in, but I DID notice it at Kindergarten. Most of Kyle’s good buddies were all oldest children, so I was this experienced veteran guru (and a few years older than most of the moms).
    Jennifer, Snapshot´s last post ..Bitter Buds — Do you have them??My Profile

  4. I can totally relate as my two children were six years apart – and I think that was great timing – especially when it’s time for college tuition. If I were to do anything different, I would not have waited 5 years to have the first one, but I’d still spaced them at least 4 years apart. It is nice to be the “experienced” mom to share tips with the new moms, because some things are just not covered in orientation.

  5. I’m going through this now, with my own youngest entering kindergarten in the fall. However we moved here when the oldest – now in third grade – was in first, so I’m unfamiliar with kindergarten at this school, in a whole different state from last time. So while I’ll be the old mom, being familiar with the school and many of the teachers, I’ll also be the new mom, as I don’t know anything about the kindergarten program or the teachers other than to recognize them in the hall. Orientation will be interesting for sure!

  6. My kids aren’t widely spaced from first to second, second to third, and so on but since I have so many (4) there is quite a space between first and last so I am definitely the old and experienced and old and tired and did I mention old? mom. :) For instance, our system has a 5th and 6th grade school and with my youngest now in the sixth grade, I’ve had a child there for going on my eighth consecutive year (is that right?). So, yeah, the ropes, I know them!

  7. It always amazes me at how quickly time goes by. It’s hard to believe the boys are growing that quickly. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now. Wow!

    I’m tagging you in the Random Eleven meme. Click here to play along: http://misadventuresofthedynamicuno.blogspot.com/2012/02/random-eleven.html

  8. I know that feeling – there’s 7 years between my oldest and youngest. I have my “old mom” friends and my “young mom” friends although I only call them that in my head – the “old mom” friends woudl probably not appreciate it!

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