The inner turmoil began on my oldest son's first day of school and was firmly rooted when my youngest son joined his brother at school three years ago.
This fall marks five years of school days, and while I'm used to saying goodbye each morning, realizing that there will be whole parts of my children's day, their lives, which I won't be part of, it still hurts.
Each new year of school brings changes to my boys, ones for which there is no baby book to record their accomplishments but that are as exciting and heartbreaking as their first step.
As the Elizabeth Stone quote goes,
Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
Dropping kids off at school is just the beginning of a life long act of gently letting my kids go, trusting that I've have done my best to equip them with what they need to thrive.
It's a new phase of the ever delicate motherhood balance of watching them make mistakes, knowing when to quietly stand by, when to be a cheerleader and when to step in and handle it.
Last school year my kids milestones crept up on me. It began when I found my second-grader laughing aloud as he read a chapter book in his bed and at the end of June, he went away with his best friend's family for a weekend. My kindergartener printed whole words from memory, his independent skills growing by the day.
Most of the milestones brought me to tears; each is written on my heart even though they're not recorded in a book. They are significant to their growth as independent human beings and bittersweet to me as their mom.
My boys are going into grade one and three, and have miles of milestones to meet this school year and having the right shoes on their feet will help them get there.
Some big kid milestones I expect I'll face are:
- Walking to school without holding my hand
- Choosing to stay for lunch rather than come home
- Navigating the schoolyard at recess
- Listening to my first grader read aloud a book
- A first school performance
That’s why every August, getting my boys fitted for new running shoes, tops our back to school shopping list. And there it sits on the list until almost the end of (summer) days because the shoe shopping experience turns into a hot mess.
More often than not in previous years, the shoes my boys picked out for themselves weren't available in their size. They'd have trouble pivoting from the pair they wanted to selecting shoes from those actually in stock, and we'd end up going up home with a pair far down their wish list.
This year we shopped somewhere different.
We went to Sport Chek, and they had us covered with back to school shopping made easy.
They guarantee 30 footwear styles in any size, and it's true. We were in and out, happily sporting the latest shoes within 30 minutes.
While we were at Sport Chek another sneaky kid milestone caused my eyes to get blurry.
My now third-grader's feet no longer fit into any shoes with velcro, so he chose shoes that from my mama perspective belong to a man, not the little boy my heart sees him as.
And though he fumbles while tying shoelaces, he's taking practicing seriously, so he won't trip on his new kicks when enjoying his graduation to the big climber at recess.
I know these shoes will take him far as he hits all the big kid milestones that they year will – they will be his constant companion on the playground when he makes a new friend or when he scores that goal in gym class that makes his classmates give him a high five.
A new school year has so many twists and turns as a parent you can’t predict the journey-children develop at their own pace. But what we can know for certain is that each child has miles of milestones to meet each school year and a quality pair of shoes will help them get there.
Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Sport Chek and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.
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