So I am at day 5 of tears. From her and me. My youngest is heading off to school in two days time. She is a third child. Has been going up to the school in utero and beyond. She knows the school, the teachers, the kids. She has her best friends starting with her. I was heavily relying on her rocking this going to school thing and being the brave one, because I knew I wouldn’t be.
I’m sentimental at the best of times and would have been a hot mess regardless of how blasé she was but each of her tears are chipping away at my resolve. Her brother and sister both headed off tentatively but excited and without fuss. I ached for how quickly time had passed and missed their cheery faces at home however with each I still had a baby to keep me busy and to soak up my 9am-3pm time, affection and patience.
This. This time the starting school comes with a different level of sadness. She is my baby. My last. My companion. When this spirited little soul hits school it will be over 11 years since I was home alone so to speak. Don’t get me wrong I know I will relish having time to get things done and work on my business. I get that it’s a gift to watch them grow, and I know she will be absolutely fine. It doesn’t stop my heart from hurting. I’m trying to put a name to the feeling and grief is the closest I come. I’m not for one minute comparing it to losing a loved one (it’s not even on the edge of the same stratosphere as that emptiness) but I am grieving. Grieving time passing. Grieving all the things I will miss about having a baby. Grieving the excitement that comes with starting this parenting adventure. Terrified at how quickly they will all become tweens, teenagers, adults. Acknowledging that my role in her life is changing, and hoping like mad that the apron string doesn’t ping back and get me in the face.
I have loads of friends, a business, love going out and getting away, I have a life outside my kids. They can send me teetering on the very edge of my patience. I yell, rant and have to walk away taking a self-induced timeout for everyone’s safety, like the next mum. It’s not like my kids are my only focus, they’re just the main one and the best one.
This child rearing job is the most consuming, exhausting, relentless, beautiful and rewarding thing I will ever do. This job constantly changes without your go-ahead. There is no review process. You can’t over ride decisions or stop to check the instruction manual. This is life. You have to be brave and hold on through the turns. You have to believe that when you are forced to take a big leap you will land on both feet and in a better spot than before. I will tell her that as soon as I stop crying.
So I’m holding her, telling her that I will miss her too but how much fun she will have. I’m spin selling this school caper and assuring her it will be good with all her friends and her lovely teacher. But, my little miss is laying in her bed with those eyes, those big wet eyes, telling me that she wants to stay 5. Her little arms wrapped around me with her face buried in my chest telling me that she doesn’t want to go to school, she wants to stay with me forever. I’m struggling to not sob “me too baby girl, me too”.
Next week will be a dark glasses kind of week. I shall put on my brightest smile. Take a bucket load of photographs and send her off on her next big adventure. I just hope that there is not too much crying, clawing at the door and general separation anxiety – your mum having to be forcefully removed from the classroom … that shit scars a kid!