There are some little things that I have learnt along the way that I feel like I have to warn mums about so they are not blind sighted. I make sure to tell pregnant mums about after-pains being worse than actual contractions and I also always tell them to start lathering their breasts in Lansinoh when they start breast feeding to help with that spine tingling pain. When mums think they are over the terrible twos I warn them about the dreaded threenagers so they don’t get too comfortable. I really try to look out for other mothers because I feel like we all need to have each others backs in this tough gig. Now I have another warning to add to my list:
Even if you aren’t the crying kind, you will shed tears on the first day of school.
I have to admit that I never used to understand it. I used to see the photos of mothers after their children started school and I just didn’t get what all the emotion was all about. It is now 4pm on day one of Mikah starting school and I get it. I feel exhausted from the day. I feel debilitated and like I have actually grieved. Completely ridiculous isn’t it? I wish I could take the chill pill that my daughter so obviously swallowed. I know some of you have kids starting school over the next couple of weeks so I just thought I would explain it to you, why I cried and why you probably will too.
From the moment they put on that uniform they are instantly older. Somehow they can manage to look so small yet so big at the same time. All their uniforms are so huge on them because we want mileage out of these expensive uniforms but even with the hems hanging lower than they should – they immediately lose their status as being little. This is a moment we can rejoice in though, so hold back your tears at this point. Uniforms rock! No more arguments in the morning about how inappropriate it is to wear gumboots and thick tutus on a hot summers day. No more special requests for that one shirt that you pretend to look for with your child but really you know its at the bottom of the dirty laundry pile. I couldn’t be more excited about the prescribed uniform.
The rush… so as I was rushing to school this morning I realised that this was the new time I HAD to be out the door. No more late mornings because we had a sleep in, no more keeping them home because I couldn’t be bothered taking them in the pouring rain and now there is definitely no chance of picking them up early just to go to the beach. And holidays must be taken during school holiday time. (I am well aware that this is a first world problem).
The contact with the teacher. These tears were really hard to fight back. I had so much to say. What I wanted to tell the teacher was all about my little girl. I wanted to sum up the previous 4.5 years for her. I wanted her to take notes so that she really knew her. I wanted to explain what makes her anxious, what excites her, what her hobbies are and what she avoids doing. I wanted to explain that sometimes she puts her fingers in her mouth if she is a little nervous. Or that sometimes she twirls her hair around her little finger if she is uncomfortable. I wanted to tell her all about our year of agonising about whether to send her at 4.5 or 5.5. I wanted to quickly ask her opinions about sending kids to school early. But I couldn’t. And I really wanted to just remind her that she is tall but she is still young. She is still a baby. My baby. But I didn’t get the chance to say much more than “Hello this is Mikah”. The teacher nodded at me and then warmly outstretched her arms towards Mikah and told her to say goodbye to Mum and Dad and that was that. All those things I wanted to say and all I could get in there was her name.
This is not daycare. There is no one sending emails with the outcomes met each day or with a series of photos in the form of a daily diary, so you have to rely on your child to tell you everything. With some kids this isn’t a problem but with most all you will get is answers like “good” and to your child thats the fully summary of the day. So this lack of communication will just leave you wondering.
The goodbye. I held myself together relatively well all morning. (My husband may tell a different story). But when she turned around and waved goodbye I was finished. All that anticipation, all the excitement, all the discussions of starting school, and then thats it. The goodbye only happens once and it happened so quickly and I felt like it didn’t happen the way I had thought it would. With me going down on my knees so that I was on her eye level, holding her hand and telling her proud I was of her and that I would be thinking of her all day. Nope, one wave and it was done. I did try to blow her a kiss but she couldn’t catch it nor even see it because she was too busy already.
The decisions. In order for today to happen as parents you have to make really hard decisions. For me it was determining whether she should be young for school or one of the older ones. I then had to decide which school was best for her and for our family. So those tears were me thinking ‘I hope I have made the right decision’. I hope I have done right by my child. I hope I look back on this day and think of it fondly. I hope this day doesn’t turn into regret.
The next Kleenex Moment of the day caught me quite off guard but it may just have been one of my proudest moments ever. I had successfully bitten most my nails off and nervously skulled down a couple of double shot lattes when it was time to pick up. I stood making some light chit chat with the other mothers but looking over their shoulders towards the door of the classroom. As it swung open I saw my little girl standing so confidently with her school bag on her back walking out of her room like she had been there for a year rather than a day. I saw her looking into the sea of mothers and when her eyes met mine it was like a hollywood scene where the whole room went quiet. So many kisses and hugs later I had found out that she had a wonderful day and was raring to do it again the next. I didn’t have the heart to tell her at this stage that she would be doing this every day for years to come although I’m not sure that that would even have disappointed her.
Wishing all the children that are starting school over the next week the best of luck. I know they will be fine.
I’m hoping all you mothers will be too. Thinking of you! Bec x