I honestly can't remember ever seeing my parents cry.
Sure, I saw my dad's eyes well up the first time we visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and I've heard his voice crack on the phone when talking about his only grandson, but I can't recall either of my parents ever crying. I've often wondered about that - was it their upbringing, was it just the way their generation was raised? Now, as a parent myself, I think I understand. Sort of.
This has been a difficult month for me. I knew something was brewing inside, but I never knew it would throw me for a loop like it did. It all started in August when I wrote the last check for preschool. Everyone said I'd feel like I'd won the lottery (what would I do with all that extra money in my wallet?!! my friends would ask). But, instead of a sigh of relief, it was just a sigh. And yes, there were tears. All I could think was that my baby was no longer my baby.
About the same time, Will started getting irritable, which is totally unlike my happy boy. Each morning before we'd head out, he'd whine and say " Mama, I don't want to go." Then, one day he said "Mama, I'm ready for something new in my life." A five-year-old - ready for something new? That's when I knew he was really ready for kindergarten.
And each day, I kept feeling my heart jump into my throat. I drove him to preschool one morning and felt the tears begin to spill and was thankful I had on sunglasses. I turned up the radio and he was never the wiser.
Last week, the big day finally arrived - staggered entry for kindergarten. The second he woke up, Will kept asking "How much longer? When can we go?" He was so excited watching me pack his Scooby Doo lunch box and he talked a mile a minute the whole walk to school. The boy smiled the entire time and I couldn't help but be excited for him, even though my heart was breaking little by little the closer we got to the school.
Finally, we signed in and he grabbed the teacher's hand and never looked back. I laughed along with the other parents and then, it came. I walked out the door of the elementary school and cried the whole way home. I cried again once I got home. And I've cried several times since.
That's when I realized my parents probably had cried .... I just never saw it.
I'm a crier. I cry at the Cheerios commercials, I wipe away tears during a good Sunday service. That's what I do, I cry. So, unlike my own parents, I'm sure Will will eventually see me cry. Just not on his day, the one that made him so happy.
The dentist tells me Will will likely loose his two front teeth before Christmas ... just the thought, makes me weak in the knees. There are so many changes coming. So, I tell my friends, if you see my with weepy blood-shot eyes, pardon me - I'm having a moment.
Julia Sims is reporter for WRAL-TV and a mom of one little boy. She writes for Go Ask Mom monthly.