Thursday, August 25, 2011

Holding Close & Letting Go

I always knew that becoming a parent would mean loving my children.  The kind of love that is more like breathing... it happens without effort.  But I really had no idea how much the biological need to protect kicks in... physically, emotionally, spiritually... wanting with every fiber of my being to always hold them close & shelter from all that is potentially harmful.  As infants & toddlers we put foam corners on sharp edges, plug electrical outlets & block access to all that could cause injury.  But as they grow & begin to experience the world without my presence, it is so much harder to protect them.  No foam corner can protect Quinn from being teased on the playground, or Remy from not being chosen to play a game at the park with the bigger boys.

And so begins the letting go... one of the hardest things I have encountered in parenting so far.  Harder than middle of the night poop-explosions or sleep-deprived-zombie living of the early days.  Teaching them to shoulder rejection, disappointment, teasing as part of living in the world.  Instilling in them the core knowledge that, no matter what, they have value & no one else's words or actions can take that away.  How do you teach a child a strong sense of self-worth?  To arm them with a tough-enough exterior to take the inevitable knocks of life & yet still keep their little egos from becoming too bruised.  Finding the balance between letting go enough to grow & still keeping safe, seems to be our latest challenge.

First day of school.

We reached a big milestone at our house... Quinn started Kindergarten.  Weeks ago when talking with a friend about this momentous day I was sure that I would be celebrating this transition with high-fives & big smiles.  When the morning arrived to deposit him at his classroom & walk away, not knowing exactly what his next five hours would be like, I was a blubbering mess.  Yes, I was THAT mom.  Thankfully he is not yet old enough to be embarrassed by my very existence, let alone by my crying in public.  We are so very proud of our little guy.  He is the first child with Down syndrome in our school district to be in a regular Kindergarten class in nearly 20 years.  So far things have been going really well.  He absolutely loves going to school.  We are slowly learning to navigate these new waters of big kid school and have high hopes that he will continue to do well as the school learns how to support him & we learn how to make sure he has what he needs to be successful.

Checking out the playground.

Yep, red puffy eyes indeed!

Modeling his new big boy glasses.

More letting go...
A few weeks back I was able to make a very brief trek north for hugs & to say bon voyage to Uncle Ed, Aunt Erin & Dylan.  They are spending the next year living in Quingdao, China.  We will miss you guys so very much but are also so proud of you and excited to hear about your many adventures. 

Nephew hugs are the best!

Holding close to a new tradition... time again for our annual visit to the county fair with the Grandmas...  

The corn sandbox was a big hit again.

A very proud Remy rode his horse all by himself & was not scared at all this year.

One of my new favorites of Quinn.

Also in the letting go category was allowing Remy to try out this adventure...

It went against all of my natural instincts of "don't let the baby play with a plastic bag"... but the kid was determined to try it out.  So we let him go for it.

Mostly he just bobbed around watching everything from his little bubble.  He was definitely a bit scared, but we were really proud of him for seeing it through.

A few days ago I rounded the corner to find this...

Not one of my best protective-mama moments, I let him stay like that long enough to take a picture & for William to see.  Of course it was only a matter of time before he fell.  Oops!  Luckily he was just fine.

Helping Daddy with his tools is his favorite thing in the whole wide world.

Quinn in a time-out.  I had to turn away I was laughing so hard at his contemplative look.

Little one in my belly continues to grow each day.  I ended up joining Jazzercise a couple of months ago to try to keep up with all of this expansion.  I feel a bit as if I have joined a cult... everyone there is so very nice.... and watching me you would never have any inkling that I studied dance for almost 20 years.... but I am enjoying moving the old body on a regular basis.  (I should probably be less concerned about how I look & more worried about how jaded I must have become if mass-niceness makes me wonder what I have gotten myself into.)  I really do love the wide mix of people, ages & ability though.  Now if only I could keep up with the ladies from the senior center... those gals can shimmy!

Getting into the rhythm of the school-year... almost ready to welcome fall in all of its apple, pumpkin, crisp mornings glory.  But just a little bit more summer would be really great too.


ang diehl said...

Good stuff, "Special-K"!!! Xo

larajanepark said...

always a pleasure to read about your lovely family. My first boy will be 19 in a few weeks and the memory of me sobbing at the gate of kindergarten holding a 3 year old Paris' hand and baby Scarlett growing in my tum is as vivid as the last flea market!! You're a great mama, you never lose that protective thing...take it from me -lara

Mary Sutton said...

I enjoy all your posts Katie - you are such a good writer. I miss you guys. Seeing you this summer was a treat, but made me want more!

Margaret said...

Love seeing all the pictures and enjoy reading about your family. Glad to hear Quinn is enjoying kindergarten. We are looking forward to that big step next year. Also, congrats on #3. It is going to be fun.

branditrench said...

I am pretty sure I saw William in a similar position between two couches on the Surly Bot this year at Burning Man : ). tough boys, you have, and I am glad to have y'all in my life.