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.