The Kaiser is a worrier. As he’s changed pre-school classes for the summer before elementary school starts, he has begun to give a shit. What he wears. The electronics he (doesn’t) have. Whether he has the right shoes for water day. What people think of him.
This is new to me. He’s been oblivious until now, and oblivion is easy.
On Friday morning his class was having a water day, followed by lunch then a trip to a jumpy-castle place. So the kid needed to wear his swimming trunks to school, get sunscreened up, bring a towel and a change of clothes. All week he had stressed about me bringing in the permission form and the $7 for the trip. I assured him that his father and I would take care of it, annnnnd we did.
Yesterday he woke excited, and we puttered around the house packing our bags and lunches and preparing for the grand day ahead. I folded towels and stuffed them into his bag. He ambled into the living room, face panicked, eyes wet.
“I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do,” he says and grips his hands tightly together.
I stopped. I sat down. I explained it all, all the points that seem so self-evident to me, but to him made no sense and sent him into a five-year-old tailspin. We talked about the plans, what was packed and ready for him, how he had underwear and socks and that yes, someone will help him should he not be able to button his pants.
Growing up, man. It’s complicated and it’s bittersweet and it’s just… it’s hard. The Kaiser slept in my bed last night, a Friday tradition. I traced the still-chubby curve of his cheek and chin. He’s changing. It’s never going to cease. Every day, I parent a new kid, and I’m tackling that with as much grace as I can muster.
But if there were ever a choice to stop time, to slow it down and make it last, I’d choose now. This summer, this day, this morning. Ain’t figured out how to manipulate its passing, though, so I’ll continue to hold on and let go, all at once.
It sucks to grow up
And everybody does
It’s so weird to be back here
Let me tell you what:
The years go on and
We’re still fighting it, we’re still fighting it
You’ll try and try and one day you’ll fly
Away from me
-Ben Fold, Still Fighting It