We’re on the motorway on the long drive home after a last trip away before we’re tied to the school holidays.
Tomorrow everything changes.
There will be tears, there will be a dragging of heals near the school gates and a heartbreaking anxiety as a new chapter begins.
(By the way, I’m talking about me here, not my 4 year old daughter who starts school tomorrow.)
She – my eldest child and first to take this step – will be fine. I know she can’t wait to start at her new school with her shiny new shoes and clothes like the ‘big girls’ wear. She’s desperate to learn to read by herself and will soon have a new swell of mates to chatter about.
She probably won’t think twice about me, as I watch her disappear with barely a backward glance into her new classroom and into a system that she won’t leave for years. If she does burst into tears it will take every ounce of my own composure not to wail along with her.
I cried on my first day at school. I don’t remember what my Mum did but I’m certain she didn’t cry in front of me. It would have been an encouraging smile and a reassuring “off you go” nudge. Strangely, I remember my second day much more clearly. For some reason we were a little late and I remember walking alone down the corridor to my classroom taking deep breathes to stop the tears from flowing. It worked and I never looked back.
I may have to channel the same deep breath techniques when I do that first drop off for my own child. Keeping the emotions in check may well be up there as one of the hardest things I’ll have to do.