August 31, 2007. That was the day you were supposed to be born, at least according to the white-coated “experts” and their charts. In my typical Type A fashion, I planned my last day of work before my maternity leave to be August 28, so I could work right up until the end. I’d have two days off to get organized and pack “the bag”, and then you’d be born. There was a plan. Perfect.
But nope. August 31st came and went. You just weren’t ready.
So I waited. And waited. And waited.
Truth? I was already a little miffed that I could have been working instead. It seemed so important at the time to not take any “extraneous” time off from clients and the courtroom just to sit around the house. The heat wave smothering Boston at the time certainly did not help. As I stepped into my mother shoes, I was already feeling the outer edges of a life that would no longer be entirely mine. I was being introduced into the art of “letting go”. I was not a quick study.
Then, after a week that felt like an eternity, you arrived on September 6th.
You came when you were ready.
At the time you were born, I didn’t realize that your “delay” would mean an extra year until you could enter Kindergarten in our city. Once I did figure this out, probably when you were around three years old or so, I did not exactly embrace that extra year. A lot of “if only” thoughts cluttered my mind. If only you had been born “on time” instead of when you were ready. This was still my kind of thinking back then.
But then something shifted in me. I began to listen to the pure tones within myself and of my loved ones, and blocked out the white noise of external expectations. I realized that I was not entirely happy with my chosen profession, at least not in the way that I was then working. I began to accept, if not appreciate, the kind of sensitivity you innately possess. A sensitivity that, at its meridian, was so entirely contrary to the path of life we had first chosen for you: nine hours a day in loud and busy daycare classrooms. A sensitivity that still quite often means you are not ready to do things at the speed or volume that others might. A sensitivity much like mine.
If both of us were going to survive, something had to change. So, a few months before you turned four, I let go and left what I knew to start something entirely different that would nourish my soul and my heart, and also bring you closer to me more often. I sensed that it was where we both needed to be. I was ready.
It has not always been easy. There have been many false starts over the past two years. Even though I was ready to embark on a fresh new journey, you were not. You sent up several red hot flares to signal you were in distress. I put aside many of the things that I wanted to accomplish for myself during that time so that I could be the kind of mother you needed for a while, but more importantly so that you could be the kind of kid that you are. I do not say this as a martyr or a saint—you know perhaps better than anyone else that patience was in short supply for much of this past winter and spring as we untangled the biggest knots, and I am now well aware of how much I benefited from it all even though almost none of it was part of my plan.
It’s also precisely when I realized that the extra year that I had once considered a detriment was actually a gift. That extra year allowed me to really get to know you and myself. It allowed all of us to make all of the necessary adjustments before we sent you off to school.
That time is what allowed you to be ready today, September 9, 2013, your first day of Kindergarten.
You are ready to widen your circle. You are ready to weather the storms of friendships and steep learning curves. You are ready to take risks. You are ready to speak up when you do not want to be rushed. You are ready to take in all that life has to offer. You are ready to chart your own course even when it might be the one less traveled. You are ready to try new things. You are ready to discover who you are going to be.
I am ready to follow your lead.
Readers: I’m taking a blogging sabbatical for the remainder of September. After three years of doing this, I need the time and space to think about the direction I want to go with this blog, and weigh M’s privacy as a factor going forward now that she’s more “out there”. I’ll be back in October, though maybe in a slightly different way.
Copyright (c) 2013 Kristen M. Ploetz