Oh, Cooper. I sent you off to your first day of Kindergarten on Monday. You took to it like a champ, as I thought you would. You've been in school for several years now and you were excited and not at all scared. Meet the Teacher night was last Thursday and we met Miss Tharnish, a kind and lovely girl who graduated from Texas A&M three months ago and is determined to excel at teaching. The school is brand new, beautifully appointed, with a principal who is, by all accounts, the best in the business. You love riding the bus home and eating your lunch in the cafeteria. You climb out of the car in the morning and find your classroom without help.
My dear son. When I look at you with your cool new Power Rangers backpack - with attached lunchbox! - and your new shoes and your gap-toothed smile, marching bravely off into not needing me anymore, you look so big to me and yet so very little. I carried you under my heart and fed you from my own body and cherished and loved you more than I every knew it was possible. I am so proud of you, my little man, so strong and independent and determined. But it tears at my heart that you don't really fit in my lap anymore. It's the fundamental contradiction of parenting and it will only get worse - we want them to be their own persons, to manage on their own, to be all right without us. But oh how hard it is to let go. I must learn to live with wanting to follow and keep watch, because I've come to understand that feeling will never go away.
Someday my son will be taller than me. He will get in his car and drive away and not look back. He will make all his own decisions and order his own life. Someday he will have a wife, a woman he loves more than he loves me, and I will be a place to visit instead of home. But then he will smile and I will see in his face the moment he was born, when he was so completely mine, my whole world swaddled in a blanket, his tiny hand wrapped around my finger.