A Fast-Approaching Rite of Passage

Rite of passage.

Life is full of them.  There are some that we look forward to, such as a quinceneara or a church wedding (that’s a BIG one!) but there are other ones that only some of us get a chance of a lifetime at.

I didn’t get to a chance to really experience any rites of my own, like that quinceneara as is the tradition for Mexican girls.  I’ve only experienced one, perhaps the most important one that really counts for me, which is my transition into motherhood.  My role as a mom is monumentally important to me.  It means everything to me.  Sure I’ve had some trying times and I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Now, I will be experiencing another rite of passage that I really didn’t expect or even think about until quite recently.  This year, my son is ready to enter the world of formal education.  I think he is excited and looking forward to it even though he has some doubts still because he asks me if I will be in the classroom with him.  I’ve explained how it will be and he seems to understand and accept it.  I guess I will find out come the first day of kindergarten.

I think I am the one who is having more trouble with it and it is still months away.  I’m very worried.  I’ll admit it.  I have fears.  I have lots of fears of his being out of my sight.  I’m not fearing that he’ll be in school and I’m not talking about separation anxiety.  I’m talking about the real dangers out there that I cannot control.

Example:  Two weeks ago a four-year old, pre-k little boy was found walking along a very busy, high-traffic street.  How did he get there?  He simply walked out of his school playground and out toward that busy street.  Apparently he had been placed with the wrong schoolyard class and he didn’t know anybody and he left to try to go back to his daycare.  My question is where in the world was the teacher?  How did he/she NOT notice a missing student?  Further, how in the world did the schoolyard chaperone or whatever they are called now, NOT notice a little boy walk out of the fence?  Isn’t that supposed to be locked or guarded?  I hate that the school didn’t take full responsibility and all I heard was excuses.  That part is too long to tell but a good Samaritan did stop and take him to his daycare and his mother was called.  I cannot begin to imagine the horror (yes, that is what it is, HORROR!) of that incident for his mother.

Another example:  Just last week two 11-year old girls were hit by a car as they were crossing a busy intersection.  Sadly one has died and the other one is in critical condition.  This happened when school was being let out for the day.  My question is where was the cross guard?  What about vehicles following the school zone speed limits?

Oh, I don’t know.  I know that I’ll make myself crazy if I keep thinking ‘what if’ but these two incidents alone have not helped ease my mind.  And all of this has just been on my mind, never voiced.  I don’t show my fear to my little ones or anyone else for that matter.  Little by little I’m teaching my son phone numbers, his address, and how to follow directions and what to do in certain situations.  I will be informed and be very involved.  What else can I do?

Pray.

I will do my best to make my son’s time in kindergarten a happy and positive experience but I can’t help wanting to protect him, and soon after, my daughter as well.  That day, however, that day when he turns and walks away from me and into his classroom will probably be the most difficult rite of passage for me but an exciting one for him.

Nothing like a life experience to give you a dose of reality.

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