My oldest son is 4. He doesn't turn 5 until October so he will not be eligable to start kindergarten until he turns 6 because their cut off is Sept 1. I was a bit bummed when I found out he couldn' go. He seems ready and honestly I was looking forward to it being free and not having to pay for preschool. I have heard from some people it is better for them to start a year later (especially boys) because they just are not quite ready for it at the age of 5. I am starting to understand why. I have to admit something now - I am afraid of public school. I went to public school from first grade all the way to graduation so this is not coming from someone who was privately schooled or anything. I am simply afraid of letting go of my little boy. I am afraid of watching him walk in those doors a sensitive, creative and compasionate little boy and walk out a jaded, pushy, misbehaving one who knows too much too fast.
My son has recently been associating with another child who started kindergarten this year. Before that when they hung out I did not notice the difference in their age. Now when they hang out I see what a difference there is between age 4 and age 6. Today I took him to the park to play and we ran into this other child who was also at the park with her kindergarten class. The other children were just wild playing on the playground and several times I saw my son get pushed around. Not on purpose or anything but it gave me a glimpse of what things could be like in the future. I felt for the first time this overwhelming need to protect my child from the world. Two of the children ( a boy and a girl) were chasing each other. The girl said to the boy "come on let's go under here to do it." The boy said "no. people will see us. Let's wait and do it on the bus." Then she ran away and as she did he yelled at her "I already got my first kiss anyway and it was from a boy." It was at this moment I decided to home school my children (half joking)
Then I had one of the sweetest moments of my life. My Son was showing his older friend he could climb up this tall ladder. She climbed way ahead of him to the top as I noticed his shoe lace was untied. I stopped him so I could tie his shoe. She sat at the top calling to him "come on up. what is taking you so long?" My young son (without any hesitation or embarrassment) simply called back to her "Hold on. My mommy is tying my shoe first." I felt so proud and then realized that if this were to happen a few years from now he probably would have said to me "come on mom - just let me go" instead. But for now he didn't. For now he is still my little boy who loves to give me hugs and hold my hand when we walk. Who gets shy around new kids and new places and likes to stay close to me. I will cherish these moments forever because I can already feel them slowly slipping away.
I am not naive. I am not one who thinks the world is that different from when I was growing up. Most people my age seem to forget what it was like when they were kids. I grew up fast and saw and did things at an age that even most of my friends now did not do. I don't expect to make my kids live in plastic bubbles (although I would love to at times) but I did not expect to have to confront my first step of letting go so soon. I am so thankful now he can't attend kindergarten this fall. I get one more year of him being all mine. Where my influences still rule and where I am his world.