My baby is starting kindergarten. Am I ready for this?

I need the outside world to go away for a while. I need the noise to quiet down. I need to live in a bubble of peace.

You see, my boy is headed off to kindergarten, and my focus is there. In my little family, this is a transition worthy of shutting down the outside world. It feels like a rite of passage that needs acknowledgment—space to breath, room to grow, the softness to feel. This house should be sacred space—Retreat space for all of us.

For my kindergartner, retreat space means home is a place of simplicity, of heart, of unconditional love. The five year old headed off to the larger world of big kid school is the same child who told me last year that he “sometimes has feelings, I don’t know what they are really, but I feel them all over my body then they have to come out my eyes sometimes like tears.” He asked me if I knew that feeling.

Yes. Yes, buddy, I know that feeling. He went on during that bedtime last autumn, to tell me he isn’t sure all people have the same feeling. He didn’t think everyone had feelings “squirt out of their eyes” quite as much.

He’s right. I have a household of eye-squirters. And we eye-squirters must figure out our way in a world that doesn’t always understand how intensely some people feel. I’ve learned through the years that emotions take space, time, and care. People like us don’t weather the stress of the world well. We need to retreat. We need home. We revel in the cozy. My three year old, Grace, recently told me “our family is a cozy family. We like cozy.” I have since derived from her commentary that cozy is equivalent to present. They like presence. We shine when residing in presence.

For our home to feel present, my children and I have to make extra room for our emotions. “The feels” take a lot of space in our home. Seemingly simple or normal activities – birthday parties, trips to the store, all of it – take both prep time and decompressing time. It’s exhausting. Each adventure out into the world can become overwhelming to my little beings who feel everything. The overwhelm only intensifies when I’m not present – when they must walk out into the world as a solo individuals.

With that, I can safely say that transitioning to a new school with new teachers and new classmates, for six plus hours of his day, is going to be a challenge. There are going to be tears emoting from our bodies often. I need to leave space for the tears, the fears, the successes, the endless stream of observations.

As I wrap my brain around the imminent changes of this fall, I keep feeling my need for simplicity, for a peaceful foundation, for the home as sacred space. I cannot allow the outside stresses to enter the doors of this home. It will be warm, grounded, inviting, and safe.

My number one priority these days will be to help my little guy to feel strong in body, mind, and spirit while he navigates his new world.

That’s a feat that requires enough—without me adding on other expectations. I don’t enjoy the feeling of being overextended, and my children certainly don’t like over extended mom. My goal this fall is to underextend. To release expectation for achievement of anything but for each day to be present, accepting, and filled with heart.

This fall I’m going to be going inward a bit. Listening to my own inner silence to lead me. I’m going to need to turn off constant stream of information the world bombards us with every day so that I can hear my own voice. I can’t allow my energy to wander too deeply elsewhere—my home needs me first and foremost. This transition needs space, it doesn’t need me running in a hundred directions.

To friends who’s phone calls I have yet to return, to the plans I may break, I apologize. To other parts of my life, other responsibilities and commitments, I’m sorry if I let you down in the next couple of months. I simply don’t have the space to hold it all. I’ll be tending to the feelings that are squirting out of my eyes.

Catherine is a mother, teacher, and writer living in Seattle with her husband Joe, two children, Tucker and Grace, and furry baby, Jersey Dog. She attempts to stay mindful and grounded, and is always on the search for all things beautiful and joyful. Catherine’s first book, There Was Supposed To Be a Baby, was inspired by her journey to healing after two miscarriages. In her spare time, Catherine practices yoga, enjoys music, and spending as much time as possible outdoors.

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