It seems pretty appropriate that this time of transition for Frances, this BIG move from the land of daycare to the land of public school (her home for the next FIFTEEN years), coincides with what feels like a big shift in my experience of motherhood.
Up to this point, my main goal as a mother has been to keep my kid alive and safe. The things I’ve had to offer her, the things I’ve been focused on have been practical things: is she eating enough, is she getting the right amount of sleep? I’ve been focused on the things she needed to master in these early years: first rolling over and then crawling and then walking. Sleeping through the night. Potty training. Learning to feed herself, dress herself, put on her own shoes. Really basic, but vitally important things.
But in the last few months, I’ve felt my gaze start to shift from the practicalities of the here and now to the open landscape of the future. How do we teach her to be a good person? How do we strengthen her core, so that when the harsh winds of the world blow, as they will, she will remain strong and confident and whole? How do we help her become a good person, concerned about justice and the world beyond herself? As we enter a time where her own memories of her life will begin, how do we want her childhood to look? How can we make it a good one – one where she learns what she needs, feels protected and loved, has the space to explore and have fun and make mistakes?
It’s daunting. But exciting too.