Monday, August 25, 2008

Thoughts From A First-Time Kindergarten Dad

I dropped my oldest son off today for his first day of kindergarten. And no, I'm not going to cry or get emotional. It's just hard to believe this day is already here. My wife and I opted to wait until he was 5 instead of sending him off to K-4, but the extra year still wasn't long enough. I've been fortunate to work a great deal out of the home over the course of the last 5 years and because of that, I've really been able to be a big part of my son's life. We've walked through a lot of stuff together, had many father/son talks, and whipped a lot of little boy fears together. I've found myself answerless on the end of way too many questions from left field. Questions like: "Where's Heaven?" "What does God look like?" "What Makes A Magnet, Magnetic?" "How Old Do You Get In Heaven?" It's been awesome and I am truly thankful to have been able to spend so much time with him during his early years.

I know, I'll still have those moments and going to kindergarten isn't the same as going off to college or getting married and moving away. But, here's the point, for the first time in over 5 years, my son is not in the other room, or in the backyard, or down the street at his aunt's house. For over 6 hours, (6 hours and 45 minutes to be exact), he'll be in the care of someone we don't really know.

He'll be fine, and that's not really a concern. Actually, I don't think there is any real concern. I know that a lot of parents have issues with fear, but I think I've got a handle on that. I have no apprehension or fear about the school, the teacher, or the kids in his class. I just think it all comes down to the fact that I'll miss him. We're not just father and son you see, we're buddies. And I'm just going to really miss my buddy.

Call it separation anxiety if you want, but that is really what it all comes down to. It's so crazy. Just 5 years ago, he didn't exist and now here I am unable to remember or imagine life without him. Isn't that the way it is though? As we walk through life, there are those relationships that we become a part of and we become so connected that its as if we are one. Perhaps its husband and wife, father and son, mother and daughter, sister and brother, or just tight knit friends. Regardless of the roles, relationships can become so intertwined that life apart seems impossible. I'm not talking unhealthy co-dependent relationships here. I'm talking about relationship the way it was meant to be. Relationships where we walk through life together, tackling life's problems, encouraging one another, and helping one another become everything they were created to be. It is these types of relationships that I choose to make myself dependent on, because it is these types of relationships we were created to be a part of.

So many of us choose never to get really close to anyone because of the fear of the wounds that we'll encounter, and the work it'll require. It's true that deep relationships require work and wounds are not only possible but highly probable. Yet scripture tells us, "Woe to the man who is alone." That's because there is life and blessings that you will only experience as a result of walking in deep, healthy relationships with others. How awesome it is when you fall to have those nearby you to pick you up! It is a powerful thing when you are struggling to have those who will stand with you and walk through the battle with you. And how refreshing it is to get an email or a phone call from someone encouraging you when you need it the most.

Relationships are a powerful thing and the rewards far outweigh the costs. Sure, I'll miss my buddy during the day, but I wouldn't trade our dynamic relationship for all the money in the world. I've got another buddy that I met a little over 2 years ago, and I'm working feverishly at developing a dynamic relationship with him as well. After this week I'm thinking of waiting till he's 6 before sending him off to school.

I noticed while I was writing this that the air filter must need to be changed because there seems to be a great deal of dust in the air and it is really affecting my eyes right now. At least, that's the story I'm going with.

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