For Delphine, Helen, Bree, Lydia... and us!
Days of jittery tummies and secret tears - for mamas and kiddies... and even daddys! Another crucial weaning has arrived. Perhaps we have been counting down the days. But now it's here. And we're not quite so sure. We mentally barter for another day, or week.
How can it have come to this? Our little baby, who we held in our arms a blink ago is here with an oversized rucksack on their backs. Containing a lunchbox made with care, full of their favourites, infused with love, as though each bite of peanut butter sandwich will communicate our love, our best wishes for our precious, brave child venturing out alone in this uncertain world.
There they are dressed and ready. Shiny shoes and a jumper a size too big. The front door echoes as we pull it closed. The queasiness rises. We clutch their hand, smooth their hair, sending up silent prayers.
When we get there, we attend to practical details - the location of pegs, toilets, familiar faces. we hover, and hover. Then move to go.
We steel ourselves. Take a breath. We know they'll love it. We know they'll be fine. We hope. They cling to our skirts, our hands, our hearts. We settle them again. Take our leave again. Decisive now.
This is the time we wish we were homeschoolers. Then there would be none of this.
Perhaps we peek in the window, or listen at the door. Perhaps there are tears. Theirs or ours.
The morning is a held breath. The minutes like hours. We fill them with distractions - at a cafe, the mamas gather and share their nervousness. Clutching phones just in case of a distress call. But silence remains. We don't know what to do with ourselves, with this new found time and breathing space. what silence the absence of a child creates.
We return to collect our precious charges. In a few weeks we will be rushing to be on time. Today we are early. Mama and dada racing each other to be the first to see the girl, to clutch her to us, to interrogate her teacher.
She runs out. Noticeably more grown up and sure of herself than the little girl we left there this morning. She knows the shape and size of her own courage. She had fun. We exhale together and share her joy.
And we'll do it all over again tomorrow.
Did your child start school, playschool or kindergarten this week? Or will they be starting this week? How was it for you? And for them? And homeschooling mamas how is it for you at this time of year?
Wanna read more on school?
This was on me making my mind up about school v home school - lots of great responses too!
And this was the very first post on the subject - this time last year when my son started big school.
This was about my son learning to write - and how school helps and hinders - what is writing for really?