My son, CD, just turned 5 and he is gearing up to start Kindergarten in two weeks. Originally because his birthday was so close to the September 1st cut-off, his preschool teachers convinced us to wait an extra year before sending him off to elementary school. Then back in March they changed their mind and felt that his social skills really blossomed this year and he would be ready to start school on schedule. We spent months convincing ourselves that it was in his best interest to wait until he was 6, only to reverse course and scramble to enroll him for this September. We still speak to a lot of people who think waiting another year would be best, but when the teacher said "if he was my son, I'd send him now" I took her advice to heart.
But that doesn't mean we aren't all still a little nervous, my son especially. We thought we had one more year to prepare for this, but we don't. So I have been trying to talk up how great Kindergarten would be and how he will still get toys even though he is getting older (yes, this was one of his concerns)! We decided to hold off on other activities for a little while until we were sure he could handle more than just the day at school. He is going from a three day a week, 9 to Noon program to five days a week, 8 to 2:30. One of the activities that we are temporarily putting a hold on is his martial arts class. We do plan to start up again in a little while, but for now we wanted to wait.
Over the weekend I had to stop by the martial arts studio to drop off a headband to his instructor. While we were waiting someone asked CD why he wasn't in his uniform. We explained that we hadn't renewed our membership for right now because we wanted to see how the transition to Kindergarten went. Another student overheard this and immediately exclaimed "Kindergarten will be the BEST year of your life!" then he recounted all of the wonderful things about going to school. It was a little different for him because he is a cancer survivor and he was going through treatments when he started school, but he still had such a fond remembrance of it all. He told us that he is 12 years old now and heading into the seventh grade. I was a bit surprised by this because he looks younger. And as if he read my mind he said that he knew he looked like he was only 8 years old and he was always the smallest in his class (as I fear my son will be), but it was okay. He didn't say it with sadness, just very matter of fact. There was a wise-beyond-his-years attitude about him. He was so excited to tell my son about how great everything would be, even I wanted to go back to Kindergarten!!!
I marveled at this boy and how kind he was to my son. I regret not seeking out his parents to let them know what a great job they did in raising him. The martial arts studio is having an awards ceremony on Saturday night and they will be celebrating this young man's 8th year in remission. I am hoping I can let his parents know at that time how much his advice helped me and my son. I truly think CD is a little less apprehensive now because of this really brave guy and his kind words. And I hope one day my son will do the same for someone else.
Never underestimate the kindness of strangers, no matter how young they may be!