Ryan will be starting his formal schooling in Singapore in a couple more days. There is this strange feeling within me and I cannot exactly pin-point how I feel. It is a mixture of anxiety, hopeful-ness, weary and anticipation. It is funny how when he started Reception in London, I did not even have much thoughts or worries about it. Yet, this time round, I feel like I may break into tears just looking at him wearing his school uniform.
Yesterday, we brought him shopping for his school essentials- the schoolbag, white canvas shoes, socks and whatnots. He looked happy.
‘How do you feel about going to Primary One?’
‘I am happy! I cannot wait!’
‘You must remember to wake me up for school!’
‘How much do you think I should get for my pocket money?’
He is such an excitable, positive child. I wonder if I had such enthusiasm when I started Primary One. Sometimes, when I take some time to look at Ryan when he plays or sleeps, I am often amazed at how much he has grown over the past 6-ish years. He is much taller, stronger. He is vocal(too vocal), cheeky and inquisitive. More often than not, he is generous with his hugs and kisses with me. I don’t know if I am a worrier or not, but sometimes when he hugs, kisses and tells me that he loves me me, I feel sad. I wonder if that may be the last time he wants to kiss, hug me or tell me that he loves me anymore.
Ever since we returned from London, I realised how much Ryan needed to catch up in his studies, especially with regards to his Chinese and probably his learning attitude. It is with trepidation that I am sending him to Primary One. My dread is possibly due to the knowledge of how I did not prepare him well for the start of school life in Singapore. One of my friends who saw Ryan’s handwriting kindly advised me to start helping him improve on it lest he face difficulties in school. The comment was well-intentioned but somehow it is the start of many, many advice that I have been receiving.
‘He should be doing this…’
‘He can be attending this class because…’
‘He should try to…’
Of course, there is always a part of me that feels slighted for my parenting style. But the truth is Ryan gets the main bulk of the ‘feedback’ that I receive. I tell him that he should be trying to improve his writing. He should spend time on his Chinese. He should follow the instructions as closely as possible and not disrupt the class. Don’t whine. Don’t moan. Don’t complain.
Sometimes, he looks okay. Sometimes, I do notice that his face falls. And it breaks my heart.
Yet, as a parent, I have to stand my ground and tell him as it is. A couple of months ago, he was having a rather carefree school life. Fast forward to now, he have to adjust to a more structured way of learning. There is no good or bad to these styles. Sometimes, I do feel bad for him. I tell myself that kids are all resilient creatures, he will adapt. He can adapt to any environment.
There is something about first-born. There are parents like me who have no clue what is going to happen and what would be the best way to nurture them. Being in the education line previously, I know of many cases of parents and children drifting apart because of different expectations about studies and results. I am scared. I want to control the outcome. I want Ryan to be happy. I want him to love learning. I want him to have friends. I want him to always feel loved.
But the truth is- I cannot control all these variables. It is just impossible. I mean, my own parents loved me alot but they too, can’t control the external variables in life. All I knew was that family would be there for me no matter what happened. This is what I hope Ryan will know of this as well. At the end of the day, most of us learn through experience, we adjust ourselves and hope for better results for the next opportunity given.
All these needless worrying is just taking up a big space in my brain and time. While running this morning, I realised that I needed to trust in the Lord, to let go of this burden in my heart, to pray that God will be with Ryan, to help him want to lead a life after Christ. Everything else will come later, in His time.