My hybrid night owl-morning bird child has begun kindergarten. This momma has been shaking in her boots about the transition. Have I prepared her? Is she ready? We never did the kindergarten boot camp that I hear so many other mommas talking about. The endless push to prepare kiddos before they walk through the door to the wonderful world of kindergarten. Which has made me worried about my free spirit, perfectionist, only child beginning the journey of formal school. Me being a teacher makes this conundrum even more mounting. Teachers are supposed to have the kids that surpass ready. Whatever that means.
So to those who have looked at any kid and thought that maybe, just maybe they aren’t ready for this thing we call kindergarten. Please know:
You will find books in every nook and cranny of our house that are well-loved and talked about, but we’ve never sat down and quizzed each other on the details of those books.
You will find drawings and creations on every wall of our abode, but we’ve never presented them to a room full of other kids and grown ups.
You will find toys strewn about in scenarios and worlds that exist in the mind of a five-year old, but we’ve never had rules about what can go with what and where things had to be placed.
You will find someone to talk to whenever you need it. Because, well, that is what we do in our house, but we’ve never practiced holding in what we want to say for a really long time.
Heck, we don’t even follow much of a schedule and you can find us having a picnic dinner on the living room floor more often than at our table.
So know that while our home might not look like a classroom:
And we create.
And we love.
And we think.
And we question.
And we play.
And we write.
And we design.
And we struggle.
And we try.
And we try again.
And we solve.
And we invent.
And we LEARN.
Wolves changed the rivers. A seemingly random statement and yet there it was sitting in my inbox a few months ago. Intrigued, I clicked my way through to read about how this could have occurred.
The wolves caused less deer. Less deer led to more vegetation, more beavers, more bunnies, more everything. More stable banks. Rivers and streams stabilized. All because of the wolves. This isn’t new. Everyone knows that the impact on ecosystems is greatly affected by animal populations. But reading it has me wondering about our lives. What events major or minor in the acts of this play we call life have that ripple effect beyond that moment in time?
There are those majors like deaths and loss and births, and milestones. We all have those. I’m wondering more about the distance some events go in shaping us and more importantly the people around us. The wolves changed the behavior of the water. That’s some distance. It travels on a chain.
Could I think of something in my life that was seemingly inconsequential at the time and yet is of increasing importance today?
Something I saw?
Something I said?
Something I did for someone?
Something someone did for me?
What difference has it made in my life?
What difference has it made in theirs?
The wolves have me thinking today.
I’m sitting in the backseat as we slowly back down the driveway, all the while waving and blowing kisses with Grandpa following alongside us until we feel the bump…bump of four tires over the curb. We drive off down the street toward home, waving to the rearview mirror. He cements himself until we cannot see him anymore, but I’m sure he’s standing there until we come again. It’s the same every time. Grandpa sees us off in the best way possible. It’s like we’re all holding on to each other until the next visit, even if it’s just for a bit.
Maddie from her perch in the backseat says, “I love that Grandpa follows us to the end. Every. Single. Time.” Those three words punctuated with both hands like she’s drumming on a set of bongos.
I’m forced to pull myself away from my memory and be back in the front seat, present day. This is a different Grandpa, from the side of the family I found when I married Brian. But the feeling is the same. Exactly the same. It’s a moment, unlike many others, when I know exactly what is going on inside the heart and mind of my five-year old. Although spread across the continuum of time, her mommy has been there and felt it too.
I find myself savoring it and for a brief second I can see a small snippet of a moment that Maddie might be sharing with her little ones as Brian, slightly gray around the corners makes the trek down our long driveway, cementing himself until they come again.