Kids in school strike me as having their own life. Actually, I think kids in daycare already have their own lives – a whole day’s worth of experiences that the parent is not present for, most of which they won’t hear about. The child has a myriad of little mundane experiences that one might struggle to frame into a sentence that sounds remotely interesting, and yet these are all such a huge part of the child’s development.
But even without daycare, kids eventually go to Kindergarten and then in Grade 1 they start their full-time days – five days a week, six hours a day. That’s almost a full time job. By this age at the latest it is safe to say that the child has their own life, one the parents are no longer really a part of in terms of the experiences that make up those days. Find blogs written by mothers of kindergarteners and you will read all of them coming to grips with the fact that their little kids are growing up and venturing out into the world without them.
I can’t shake the feeling that there is something very wrong about a 5 year old having “a life of their own”.
Every day at around 3 pm a river of adolescents and teenagers flows past my house as the local high school and elementary school disgorge their charges. I watch these kids and I wonder about the things that happened during the day, what they learned (and I mean Life learning, not whatever was dictated to them in Social Studies that morning), and how much of that day the parents will never hear about. I look at the smaller ones and think that they just seem so young to be so fully occupied in an activity that takes them away from the rest of their family, out of the daily workings of their community, and isolated with a bunch of kids whose only shared characteristic is that they were born within a year of each other.
My kids are 3 and 5 and they want mama. If you ask them to do any activity and offer the possibility of me being there with them they will jump at the chance. It won’t always be that way, and I plan to savour it and indulge it for as long as it lasts. One day they really will have their own lives, having attained them by choosing their paths and being allowed to mature slowly, and gradually adjust to more time away from home and family. They will be allowed to venture out a ways, but will have open arms waiting for them when they suddenly feel the need to pull back a bit and snuggle closer to home.
I feel sorry for today’s kids, given a life on their own from the time they are still so very young. What is the rush? Why do we push them so? I’m so very grateful that my kids aren’t caught up in all of that. A life of their own? Not now, thank you. My kids still need me, and thankfully I can be here for them.