This week I saw a beautiful post on Facebook, a friend had taken her daughter to her first day of school and received a goodie bag with some tissues and a lovely poem. It was an acknowledgement to the mum, the family that it was time.
At this time of the year I know many of you are also approaching that first day.
So I thought I’d share my ‘first day of big school’ story, it’s a story of the first day of school for my third child, the baby of the family.
You see, I was fine with child one and two. They were happy to go to school, I was happy they were going to school and letting them go was an easy passage for us all.
But not number 3.
Perhaps it was because she’d had that extra 2 years at home alone during school days?
Perhaps it was because somehow I’d slowed down and taken the time to enjoy her company at home?
Perhaps it was because I knew that a block of time had passed.
Whatever it was I subconsciously decided early on that it was going to be difficult. But, as I still had a personal pact (at that point) to avoid at all costs crying in public I was going to be strong, tough even and smile and wave her off into the big world.
So, the big day came, she looked mighty little in her big uniform with her big bag. We strolled into the playground. One step forward, two steps backwards.
She’d quickly sensed my trepidation and a tension about my imminent departure arose for us both.
All of the families, mums, dads and little ones met with the teachers in the Library. We were warned that if we felt in the least bit like cracking to (politely) get out of the building. But I didn’t cry in public so I would be fine, JUST FINE. I would weather any storm and deal with any reaction my little one should throw towards me with a smile and a big mum hug.
Then her chin wobbled.
And the tears started rolling down my cheeks, uncontrollably. I couldn’t walk away, I couldn’t stay, I danced on the spot in a big teary mess setting off a chain reaction of blubbering with mums and kids alike simultaneously losing the plot creating a first day impression to be remembered.
Eventually I was ushered out of the room and assured that it would be OK. And for the rest of the day I imagined my baby needing me, wanting me, crying sad missing mum tears.
Actually, her tears didn’t last long after I’d left the building and in the afternoon she greeted me with a big smile and stories of new friends and a very exciting big new world.
So mums, when you’re handed that goodie bag it’s for a reason. Not you’ve heard my tale be prepared, it might take you by surprise. But know, as you let go you give your child the most precious right of passage into the big world. You give your permission, your blessing for your child to take the next steps towards their life as an adult. And maybe in the afternoon you will tell your child just how proud you are of them, that you miss them but you understand that it’s OK for them to grow up, just a little.
Because now they are a big school person.
Even if, just secretly, they are still your baby.