Well, here we are. The day I have been dreading and excitedly anticipating in equal measure is here. The day you start school. The day you start school. I can’t believe it. Over the last couple of weeks we have slowly been getting ready- your uniform has been clearly labelled with your name, school shoes with shiny red lights have been bought and we have had a home visit from your new teacher- but somehow it hasn’t felt real. It still doesn’t.
The day you start school.
Last night as I was going to bed I went into your room as I have done every single night since you went into your own room at six months old. I stroked your curls, as I always do, and whispered to you that I love you. I watched your chest rise and fall and your eyelashes flutter as you stirred from my touch. But this time I paused a little longer and took in every last inch of you. Processed that memory deep into my brain.
Today things change. Even if just a little at first, it’s still a change. I have to learn to let you go. That may sound dramatic but it’s true. It won’t be straight away, of course it won’t, but full time mainstream education is the first part of your journey without Mummy. I won’t know what you get up to all day every day, bar the select things you choose to tell me. I can’t help you if a friend is mean to you, or if you fall over and cut your knee. It’s your journey, your new chapter and I can only be the proud Mummy waiting to hear as much about it as I can. You will learn, develop and grow so much and sadly you will lose that little bit of innocence that comes with being cocooned in a world that I get to control.
I wish I had the luxury of a rewind button. Even if I could just rewind a few times. I would rewind to the day you were born, to play that whole exhausting but amazing day all over again. I would rewind to just a normal day in your first few months, those days where it was just you and I. I would relish every single after feed snuggle and not be so quick to put you back in your cot. I would lie with you on your play mat and watch as your little face lit up in giggles over the funny jingle it played, rather than lie you on there to get some housework done. I’d read one more story, sit holding hands while we watched one more episode of Peppa Pig. Then I would do it all over again. It was tough at some points, of course it was, being a new Mum isn’t always easy. But what I wouldn’t give to get the privilege of doing it again. Of being able to kiss your silky soft head.
That’s unfortunately not what happens though. I don’t have the luxury of a rewind button. Instead we move forward to the next chapter. I know I am not the first Mum to be feeling this way and I most certainly won’t be the last. And I know this way I am feeling right now, it will happen again. Life has a strange way of making us feel both a mixture of happiness and sadness as time moves forward and new milestones are reached. The first time you lose a tooth, when you no longer call me Mummy but Mum, when you aren’t desperate to sleep in our bed in the evenings just to be close to us, all these milestones are on the horizon. And further still the first time you get your heart broken, the day you leave home, and your wedding day.I think being your Mummy is always going to be hard- it’s always going to hurt a little loving you.
We are both a little scared. I know that. I can tell in your big blue eyes, the way you clam up a little talking about school. You have a false bravado, saying how much fun it’s going to be but I can tell. The little girl who I always thought was so confident, who could make a friend in anyone, is nervous. You were the only one who cried at your first settling in session. Maybe it’s because the other children had already had one we missed. Or maybe it’s because you aren’t as tough as I give you credit for. And I think that’s the hardest pill to swallow- I won’t be there to hold your hand when you are feeling a little insecure. Or at least I won’t all the time.
You are going to grow and discover so much this year. You’ll discover a whole world of learning, fun and play. You will get to have lunch with the big boys and girls, something you are so excited about, and you will change so much. I know you will. And I will be the proudest Mummy ever. I will stand there with all the other parents, waiting for you to run out of the school gate, with your slightly too big book bag slung over your shoulder. I will regale in delight at your stories of school, if you chose to tell me them. I’ll be the one cheering the loudest at sports day and I will display your pictures on our kitchen cupboards like they are an actual masterpiece. I’ll be there to help you read stories you read in class, practice your phonics and learn your sums.
I’ll hold back my tears as you tentatively take your first steps into that classroom without me this morning. But know full well that I will be crying big fat tears when I am back in the safety of my car a little later on. Tears of happiness, proudness, a little sadness and a lot of feelings of sentimental nostalgia.
The day you start school.
Nothing can fully prepare me for this day. But I’m so proud of you my big girl. And I always, always will be.
Mummy loves you more than anything in the world.
But as always you already knew that.