Earlier this month, I had my first parent-teacher night. That's not entirely true. I had my first parent-teacher night, and conference, as a parent earlier this month. (Being a teacher in my twenty-first year, I've had many parent-teacher nights.) And, even though I'm a big believer in lettings kids - especially kindergartners - be kids, I couldn't help from feeling some trepidation, amidst my excitement, as I headed to the school. It seems that the pressure surrounding kids today and the (over) specialisation they undergo in academics and sports and other extracurricular activities they are put through at much younger ages than kids were in my day, reared its ugly head into my psyche for the night. Heading to my son's school, I hoped that my son's teacher would have only good things to say about his behaviour and development and that my son, of course, would be the cream of the crop and the standard against which all other kindergarten students get measured.
As it turned out, my son's behaviour is well within his teacher's expectations - and my expectations - and in adherence to her class rules and the school's code of conduct. Also, developmentally, Jude is doing just fine. His reading is better than some and not as advanced as others but such is the world of kindergarten. Numbers seem to be his strength - hold the jokes about numbers and Asians (which I can hear some of my Caucasian friends making) - and among his favourites are PE (well, his dad is a PE teacher, after all), music, technology (again, hold the chuckles) and his weekly visit to the library.
Once that was settled, his son's teacher gave my wife and I a sheet of paper. On it was login information to an educational website where she'd set up separate accounts for all of her students. In each account are online books that help with reading and learning sight words. My son and I have visited that site and read many of the books and it's a joy to see his excitement when he sounds out the words and gets them right.
What slapped me in the face, however, when his teacher gave us the paper, was the login name. It's a combination of parts of my son's name with 2026. That's the year he's scheduled to graduate from high school! High school! My son only started kindergarten two months ago and already thoughts of high school graduation are popping into my head. I guess it hit me because of how fast the last five years have gone. It's still vivid how I held my son in one hand, shortly after he was born, and when he began preschool and when he started to talk and....I could go on. Now, he's in kindergarten, which is flying. Before my wife and I know it, he will be a high schooler and a graduating one at that.
I suppose what I'm experiencing is nothing new and common to what all parents experience especially, perhaps, with their first child. My wife and I only have one child and, probably, will only have the one child. And, while all children are precious gifts, for now, all our eggs are in one basket, so out speak. I just hope the time doesn't go by too fast and that I'm able to be a good role model and guide for my son; to help him avoid the mistakes I made, to be more fearless than I was, to be his best regardless of what 'best' means to the rest of the world. There were many things I did and choices I made that were good and right for me and I wouldn't change for the world. There were also many I regret and many more I wish I had made that I didn't because of fear and uncertainty; and my own fear and uncertainty gave in to the fear and uncertainty of others so those things I never did will always be a bit of a 'what if' for me. And, for me, the 'what ifs' are in many ways worse than the mistakes.
I love you son.