As we hurtle towards September at a tremendous speed I find myself reflecting on my little boy’s first year at school. This time last year I remember looking at his little face and having a tear imagining the full five days a week he would no longer be in my care. Night after night I’d sneak in to watch him sleep and feel my eyes moisten as I knew everyone the other side of this had warned me I would blink and he would be 18 but I never fully appreciated how quickly the pre school years would fly by. I’ve never read a more accurate parenting statement than those expressing how the days are long but the years are short, as rocking him to sleep for the 50th time at 6 months old, the 1am-6am stint felt about 4 days long each time.
Parenting is arguably the most difficult and important job we do and yet we have no training and no yearly appraisals to improve our style, so in many ways I felt his first proper toe dip into the real world was as much a test for him as it was for us as parents. Everyone has a different parenting style and different priorities and you just have to hope that your own priorities have instilled a good moral compass and overall helped mould a popular child that doesn’t force the teacher down the alcohol aisle in Sainsburys for Pinot on a Wednesday night.
So September came accompanied by a smart uniform and shiny shoes excitedly worn with a trepidation filling the air so massive, you could physically feel it under your skin. I was quite certain we could take him in as a couple and I could hold my tears so he didn’t fear what was coming but no, I got out the car and swiftly had to get back in giving my husband the look that he knew meant I was about to crumble into a blubbering mess. He swiftly shot into action and whipped him into school as I watched from the car his little legs walk him further away from me towards the massive front door. I felt so guilty that I couldn’t do this for his sake and have reflected on the moment with my friends who all agreed that it was probably worse to watch him walk away than live the moment and be walking with him, so I’ve beaten myself up less since.
Once that first day was out the way and I picked him up with an excitement in his eyes I hadn’t seen before, I knew instantly that this next chapter would be the best yet. I’d be lying if I said I was fully used to losing him 5 days a week and do tend to clock watch, itching to pick him back up but the way he has grown both as a person and intellectually makes me so excited for his future (hopefully without the career aspiration of a motorbike stunt driver). Friendships have blossomed and glitches been ironed out and I now watch in anticipation for the next “blink and you’ll miss it” moment headed our way. I just hope it’s not a “hat cost more than the dress” conversation too soon, though how quickly it all seems to be going, I fear it will be sooner than I know.