One thing about having kids is that you will never stop wanting so very badly, to do the right thing by them. You won't always do right by them, I'll tell you that for free, but you will always want to.
Then there are the times that you don't feel like you are doing the right thing by them, even when you know you are, like sending them off to school to be with someone you barely know for six hours a day. Sending them off to deal with friends and bully's and lunchtime squabbles, and play and fun and laughter and drama.
My youngest is about to start school. That means there are no more little ones for me at home. If I stop and really dwell on what this means it makes me incredibly sad. It makes me want to rewind everything and do it again. I can't rewind it, and I have had my fill of being sad. So instead I am focusing on all of the positives of my youngest going off to big school. The next bit.
My youngest is very keen and excited to start school. She puts her bag on every day and begs me to let her put her uniform on. I am not sad about this, I feel lucky she is so keen to begin.
Our eldest child adjusted well. We had a few days of teary eyes before he happily joined his peers in the line each morning, our middle child did not separate so readily and easily as our eldest and youngest do.
I remember weeks of him crying at the thought of going to school. It would start the evening before, and the mornings were met with dread at the fight and the tears that would ensue. It was so incredibly hard, and sad and exhausting.
His sad eyes as he held his teachers hand while he was led away from me broke my heart, those sad eyes soon turned to grabbing hold of by leg and then the screaming and begging began. Soon he stopped grabbing onto my leg and began clawing at stair rails, and the car door and the classroom door frame.
I had to continuously remind myself that I was doing the right thing by him, even when it felt like I was feeding him to the lions, every day. I had to tell myself that feeding him to the lions was for his own good.
His teachers would assure me that it would pass, the other mothers would give me concerned glances, a few managed reassuring smiles, and many a morning I spent sobbing in my car after the school drop off.
Weeks turned to terms, and eventually, the begging stopped. A few weeks more and the crying at bed time slowly ceased. The clawing at the door frames turned into defeated acceptance as he sadly walked through the door each day.
It wasn't exactly the happily bounding through the school gate I wanted for him so badly, but it was a start.
I really fear that this will happen again. I tell myself that my youngest might not like school as much as she thinks she will. I have to tell myself this, because I have to prepare that I may have to again walk away having fed my baby to the lions for her own good and without another distraction at home but my own company, the thought is a little too much to bear.
So I prepare myself, but this time I go in with the knowledge that my middle child, now happily bounds through the school gate. He runs and smiles as he waves, not wanting me to sit outside his classroom now, but to just wait in the car and wave.
I can't remember exactly how or when it happened, it was a slow acceptance that seems but a fuzzy memory, but I the proof that it happened will bound through the school gate this morning.
This time, with my baby girl, I walk through the school gate to hand over my baby for six hours a day, knowing that I am doing right by her, whether I feel like it or not. Whether she adjusts as well as we suspect she will, or not.
I walk in with the knowledge that children who think and feel deeply, may find adjusting to things more difficult that other children, but they may one day think and feel so deeply that they change the world, and I know I won't feel like I will be feeding my baby to the lions forever.
I go in with sympathy for the other mothers whose children do not separate easily, and the knowledge that having no judgment, a reassuring smile and a few kind words of reassurance can change their entire day.
I go in with an excitement that my little girl is so ready for big school. Her curiosity and questions are many, I know she will thrive in this environment. I'm excited for her.
I am also a little bit excited for me. It is the only choice I have really. Not because I want these years having my little ones all to myself to end, but because I have no choice but to embrace what is inevitable.
Bring on the next bit, the less dependent stuff. I am excited to see my baby develop into an independent little person, to share with her the wisdom and friendship that only comes when your children grow older. The six hours a day to myself to have an uninterrupted train of thought. The ease that comes with completing daily tasks and errands on your own.
The coffee's with friends and the writing time.
Oh, I am sad to see my baby grow, so very sad to see her bound happily through that school gate, but I remind myself how lucky I am that she grew at all, and that she is so excited to be at big school. Instead of dwelling on the sad, I choose to just embrace it, I have no other choice sadly.
To the next bit!
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