Last week was a memorable one for me - sending my first born to his first day of school.
Musa is 2 years old, a bit young to send to school, some would argue - but I noticed his eagerness to learn for quite some time already, and I know my working hours limit my ability to give him the kind of exposure he deserves. Besides, he was getting a tad too clingy and I thought some time away with others kids would help build his confidence and social skills.
When Z and I agreed to send Musa to a play school, I was very particular to make sure it is truly a play-based school. Not that there's anything wrong with learning ABC, but he has his lifetime to learn so I really want him to just spend more time building his social skills and confidence through play. And Musa really loves the outdoor life (daddy's boy for sure!), so that became a priority in my search for a playschool too.
He was really excited for his first day, all dressed up with socks, cap and a school bag. I remember thinking, aww looking like a real grown up this one. Until we reached the class and bammmmm, all hell broke loose. He started crying and shrieking and shouting on top of his lungs as I was about to leave that I remember thinking, did I make the right decision? Maybe, just maybe he really IS too young to go to school....imagine being left with a group of strangers at two years of age - I would freak out too if I were him!
Then I told myself, don't be silly. The deposits are non refundable so just live with your decision woman! So I dragged my heavy feet out the door as Musa's screams got louder and louder. Just outside Musa's class, a girl heard him scream and asked her mommy "Why is he crying so bad Mommy?" to which the mother kindly replied "Oh it's his first day of school!" So I told myself, see it's common. Even a passerby would know by the type of cry, haha.
Second and third day he would still cry when I leave him, but it was not as bad as first day. On the third day, when I picked him up from school, he seemed weirdly independent. He smiled, when he saw me but he didnt run to me, instead he turned to his teachers and friends and said "bye bye teacher, bye bye friends" and then slowly made his way to hug me. I asked him"how was school Musa?" to which he replied (while wearing his shoes on his own!) “Okay”.
And then it happened.
On the fourth day, Musa went to school and as he walked in - he didn't cry. I waited for the tears to come down, for the screaming to take place but no, Musa just took off his own shoes, walked into his classrrorm, and looked back and waved at me and softly said "Bye Bye Ibu!". I couldn’t believe my eyes. I needed him to still be my baby, to want and need me more than anything else in this world!
This was when I realized the painful part of motherhood is to let go of the grasp you have on your child little by little. That he would need you less and less but that’s okay because it does not mean that he loves you any less. That letting him discover life beyond you is a way to show your love for him, to nurture trust and built the character in him.
Because love is not about always being with each other. It’s about setting each other free and still loving each other the same, if not more.