No Small Children

“How many kids do you want to have?”

“I want to have four kids.”

“You know, I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, this child will be our first, and we are already in our mid 30’s. Well, you are at least.”


“So, I just don’t think having four kids is realistic. The timing is not right. You’d have to pop ‘em out one right after the other.”

I distinctly remember this conversation. My wife and I were strolling through Riverside Park in Manhattan. It was a cool Fall afternoon. My wife’s baby bump was coming through (she was due in April). It was not the first conversation we had had about children. However, it was different. The world did not move at our pace, and some of what we wanted was not going to come to pass. Our joy knew limits.

I have read many posts about parents gearing for the new school year. There have been posts about school supplies (I have learned how moms get crazy about these, including Mrs. MMK), teachers, classmates, bus routes, etc. Most of the posts have been a bit sad as people have noted their joy for the ease of summer and are concerned with the grind of a school year. However, there is a resignation and appreciation for school as well. And it’s not just because parents don’t have to figure out another way to entertain their children.

Anyway, the posts that have most struck me are those from moms whose children are starting kindergarten. They have unanimously focused on tears. The tears shed are by the parents. As I read these articles, I felt sorry for these parents. Why are they getting so sentimental and weepy? You see, my younger son is starting kindergarten this week. I can guarantee you that this parent won’t shed tears.

Why should I shed tears? SJ is ready for kindergarten. I’m sure there will be some issues with transition. However, that will occur because he has to find his comfort level. Yet, I have seen his skills grow, and I am convinced he will revel in gaining new knowledge. He will enjoy being part of a bigger class (especially if there are more boys than in his previous pre-k classes). So, why should I be weepy?

I’m not weepy. But, I am sentimental. With both our children now in the education system, it’s as if we are not a young family. There are no little kids at home. My children are getting older.  I don’t miss late nights, feedings, burpings, etc. However, children keep us young. I’m getting older too.

A little while after SJ was born my wife starting dropping hints that she might be interested in having a third child. I wasn’t interested. I don’t remember the specific reasons – they were the typical justifications.  She was not adamant, and the moment passed. Later, I was the one dropping hints. She wasn’t interested, and I was not adamant.  As an older couple, we did not have time to dally. The time passed and two children are what we are blessed to have.

So, as SJ heads off to kindergarten, I am proud of him. And a little sad. I am confident that it will be a great experience for him. I look forward to seeing him learn and grow. However, I can’t help but feeling some sense of nostalgia in recognizing that my youngest child is moving on, leaving no little ones behind him.

41 thoughts on “No Small Children

  1. I hear you. There’s an ad here in Australia for Toyota and the tag line is “oh what a feeling, Toyota”. As that tag line is being sung, the people jump in the air with joy. I did a Toyota jump when my first started school. Yes, there’s nostalgia and perhaps just a little welling of the eyes, but no real tears – from me anyway. I’ll get back to you when they finish primary school and move up into high school…

  2. I was not weepy for my first son starting Kindergarten this year. I do see it being much more difficult to approach the same transition with our second (and last) son though. We are “young” enough to have more children, but it’s not worth the risk to us, now knowing that we are CF carriers. So I imagine that five years from now will be much harder to start the school year than it was this year. For now, I will hold my baby close. Have a great first year, SJ! 🙂

  3. My kids are long since grown, but my youngest granddaughter started Kindergarten this year. She was SO ready, already knows most of the stuff they learn, and she can read a bit and write. No tears from anyone in our family. While I would rather her be home schooled because she is going to be amazingly bored to death, and therefore capable of getting into mischief, at least she isn’t stuck in pre-K or at daycare all day long. I can only hope her teacher will see that she is one of ‘those’ students that needs to be challenged.

    I confess, I cried a bit when my youngest went to school. His big brother walked to the corner with him, and both of them got on the bus. I could barely see the top of his head through the window. But, I stayed on the porch and watched them go on their way. What made me cry, was seeing how good my oldest was at taking care of his little brother.

    I home schooled my eldest granddaughter, so she only went to school while we lived abroad. She loved it, but again, was way to social because she was bored.

    I miss the classroom, I miss each new semester when I got yet another group of freshmen who thought college was party central, and I taught them differently. I miss teaching adults who are there to learn to better themselves. However, a new school year is always something to look forward to, regardless of age or where you school. Scary, for some, but always exciting.

  4. Nice reading a ‘Back to school’ post not about school supplies, uniforms, and the tears shed, but a different focus all together.
    I will admit however, that when the time comes later this year and my son starts Pre school, I will shed tears. Probably an embarrassing ammount, and then I’ll probably write about it 😉

  5. One never stops shedding tears for their kids.
    Off to kindergarten…….tears
    High School graduation….tears
    Leave for college…..tears
    First real job……….tears

    And still plenty of tears left over. 🙂 And gladly will keep shedding them.

  6. I was not sad, but excited for the new adventures my munchkins were going to have. I remember my oldest first field trip, and being so excited for the first real bus drive ride. As I looked around all the others moms were crying, and wanted to say get over yourselves and think was excited your kids were and a bit scared but going to enjoy their new adventure. Even the principal was trying to console the moms

  7. I definitely cried. And I cried when my daughter went to college. And I sometimes cry when I drop off my boys and watch them head to their classrooms. It’s all about the process of letting go. I’m not a crybaby but I feel things as a mother very deeply.

  8. I don’t cry, but I do hover. I’m that mom who never quite leaves the school, so they give up and give her a job and a paycheck. But really, I’m still just a hovering mom.

    I hope both boys are doing well!

  9. You know, since having no children on my own I can hardly tell you I “know” what you mean…
    The only thing I CAN say is, that I’ve known my nieces since they’re one day old, I fed them, changed their diapers, babysat them, played with them, helped them with their homework, watched movies with them and saw them growing up… now their young women… (and I’m old… *sigh)

  10. I enjoy watching young families when I’m out. I remember when my kids were that little and it always makes me smile. The only thing I feel a little sad about, as I see young families together, is that I’ve been doing it on my own for so long. I wish I could do it over with an actively involved partner, but alas, that is not to be, so I just smile and be happy for the other families. I do enjoy little watching little ones and how fascinated they are with the world. 🙂

  11. Your post resonates strongly with me. Hubby and I are still contemplating number 3. And it’s mostly because of that feeling of having no babies around anymore. But, as my mother once told me, as long as I am in my child-bearing years, I will always want another one. That feeling never goes away.

  12. Its the nostalgia that brings on the tears. As my kids get older I realise how fleeting the time of babies and children actually is. In no time they will be adults and while I will enjoy that too – each phase has its good points – I cant help but miss the good parts of the child & baby years too.

  13. Hi,
    Even though I do not have children, I can understand your feelings. My mom said it as the last child left the house, things change and these are left changes that will occur at every stage of their development. You and your wife will see yourself letting go of them.
    I hope SJ has a great start in kindergarten. It is a new epoch in his life.

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