The baby ain't a baby anymore

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

I thought I had time. I thought this day would take forever to get here. And once the reality hit me, I almost got in the fetal position in tears.

My baby boy, my little man cub, my Jase graduated from preschool.

I clutched my husband Jason’s arm, and my eyes began to fill up with tears. I watched Jase make his way down the aisle in his cap and gown with that all too familiar grin that shouts, “Hey Momma.”

I managed to hold my tears in, but once his teachers started playing the traditional “photo collage” memory video, a few tears tumbled down my cheek. And when he was presented “The Future Reporter” award because he asks so many questions, I started ripping the Kleenex out of my purse.

This graduation hit me hard. Granted, I was emotional when my two older children graduated preschool. But this is the baby, the caboose, the final. There will be no more preschool graduations after this.

And that thought tore me up.

I’ll admit that were times I thought, “I can’t wait until Jase gets a little older.” But now I am kicking myself for even thinking such horrible thoughts.

There is no question that Jase is a “Momma’s boy.” But most baby sons are, I think. He and I are extremely close, and I am having a difficult time letting him grow up. The mere idea of “big school” makes me proud yet sad, if that’s possible.

I am excited about the confidence he has developed at his daycare. For one, he has awesome teachers. I hope that sense wonder and assurance follow him into kindergarten. If he thinks he can be an astronaut or a karate star or a talented artist, I am sure Jase will do just that. Fingers crossed, that confidence remains in his tiny heart.

He will make new friends, have a new cubby and walk the same halls his big brother and sister did. He will have many of their same teachers. He will take his lunch to the cafeteria. He will wait in pick-up lines. He will have homework. He, hopefully, will not get to know the headmaster’s office. He will perform in school musicals. He will attend more football games. And he will grow up.

That’s the hardest part…he will grow up.

And as the preschool graduation concluded, Jase ran into my arms with a smile as wide as the Mississippi River. He knew he was a big boy.

He was ready for the next chapter.

I just hope he doesn’t mind if I want to hold on for a while before we turn some of those pages.