ABC’s, 123’s, and Four Years Later

Note from the Editor: It’s Friday… and we’re doing some Dad Stalking! This week, we’re hearing from John @TheDaddyYoDude. In this post he talks about what it’s like for a dad to send his child off to school for the first time. As a mom, this really touched my heart. You can read more from John on his own blog The Daddy Yo Blog. Happy Weekend! xo Kel

It has been four years and three months since my son was born. Not that long in the grand scheme of
things. I have watched this little guy grow from an attached infant, to explorer one year old, jabbering
two year old, stubborn three year old, and now, growing four year old. I have listened as he learned to
sing his ABC’s completely and count from one to 20. Now? Monday he will head into a whole new world.
A new environment with new faces, new noises and smells. Is he nervous? Why of course not. Guess
who is?

Yeah, you guessed right. It’s daddy who is more nervous. This year, Little Man heads to 4 year old
preschool at the primary elementary school in town. Suddenly, I have realized how fast this precious
time really goes by and how fast it can be that you lose a moment that you could have had. I have also
discovered a new set of fears, concerns, and worries.

I think back to my elementary school days. I was small, dorky, had a mullet, and some of the worst
glasses to come out of the late 80’s and early 90’s. I talked too much and paid attention too little. They
were some awfully fun days. But I also remember the fear of being laughed at. Those fears that make
you fake sick, head to the nurse’s office, and pray as hard as ever that you will soon be coming home.

My son is such a sweetheart. He has a huge heart, a compassion for others, and the ability to be an
instant companion. He also has the ability to spot shadiness and bad motives at the drop of a hat.
The two combined though turn him instantly shy in situations where he feels intimidated or scared by
others. And I worry that as he enters this new world of elementary school he will find himself in more of
those scary situations.

This year, it may be harder on me than it is him. Stepping into new places and situations is a part of life
he has to go through. I know this deep down. He will have to learn to face objectiveness, meanness, and
humiliation. It happens to everyone in life. But I’m not ready to see him have to do that. To me, he is still
my Little Man. He is still the little dude that danced to Weezer with me when he was 8 months old. He is
still the same little dude with the Mohawk, who was thrilled about figuring out how to put a straw in a
cup. In reality though, he is no longer those things.

This year I find myself at a new challenging point in my fatherhood. I find myself at the point that I have
to force myself to realize that these little things will eventually grow. They will get smarter, taller, more
coordinated. And soon, they will not need this guy to direct every step. I am scared, I am a bit confused,
and even a little sad. This is harder than I thought it would be. I know in my heart that I am watching a
beautiful thing happen. If he only knew the fear behind the smiles. But I choose not to show it.

Instead, I will show the pride that is taking a little longer to swell up this year. I will show the excitement
that is overshadowed in my mind by fear. And I will show him that daddy will still be here whenever he
is needed. To comfort him, to guide him, and to look back on as he gets a little farther down his life’s
path.