We’re approaching a ‘big’ day in our house. Like many parents up and down the country and across the world we are preparing for a first.
The big one’s first day at school.
I am suddenly in a different stage of parenthood. A mum with a child at school. I don’t feel old enough, I definitely am, but I don’t feel it. I’m entering a new world of book bags, homework and school dinners and it all feels slightly alien to me.
I’m not ready. Well I am, in the fact that the uniforms are all labelled and hung in his wardrobe. Hanging there it looks far to big for my little boy. The shoes are polished and he has practised putting them on by himself, the shock of the cost of this purchase still leaves me feeling slightly wobbly. PE Kit has been bought, even new underwear. Everything is ready, except me.
I know I am no exception with my worries and fears for him. Every mum is worried and we have a right to be. For nearly five years I have been by his side, wiping tears and snot, answering a million questions a day, making him giggle and enjoying hugs and kisses. I’ve watched with pride as he has taken his first steps, then worried and agonised when it was another two months before he took any more. I’ve shared the little gems that he has said that make me laugh out loud on Facebook.
I’ve doubted my parenting ability a thousand times over when he’s had a full on meltdown at the dinner table. I know his quirks, his mannerisms, his likes and dislikes, his faults, his struggles, his humour, his expressions. I know him through and through.
And whilst I understand it would be impossible for his teacher to know him like I do, I of course worry that she wont know that when he’s worried he twiddles his hair, that he sometimes needs a bit of extra encouragement to try something new because he over thinks things, and that she won’t see the awesomeness that is him. I worry that he won’t ask for help if he needs it, that he won’t learn he can’t talk all the time.
But more than any of that I worry that this time apart from one another will mean I lose part of him. I won’t know him quite as well as I do now. He won’t tell me every detail of his day. Something that would have been such a big deal to him at 10:00 will be long forgotten by 3:00 and I will never know.
I hope he will come to me with his problems and let me share in the excitement of his achievements. I pray that he doesn’t get bullied and that his first crush doesn’t break his heart. But all of these things he will experience without me by his side. I will hear about it (I hope) after the event. But I will miss the moment. I won’t be privy to conversations between him and his friends, I won’t know why he is smiling so big, laughing so loud or crying so hard. I won’t be the one making him smile or drying his tears.
And that is why I will cry after the first time I say goodbye to him.
Tears for the missed moments.
We are now two years on from when I wrote this post. I will always hold a special place for his reception year teachers in my heart. They loved him and nurtured him and saw the awesomeness that was him. Teachers rock. As hard as it feels now, having to say goodbye to your little one for the first time, I promise it will be ok. Just don’t forget the tissues on the first day.
You can read what I learnt in my sons first year at school.
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