And so the countdown is on to Monday. Parents like us, who procreated 5 or so years ago, are quietly working up a sweat about the big reveal. D-day. The announcement of whichever primary school the big old admin machine has selected for our children.
Here it comes. Reception Year. Bloody hell.
I am really not dealing very well with all of this.
I know some of you will not be phased by it at all. Your children are recognisably ready for school and you are ready to send them off in their baggy jumpers and polo shirts. You’re cool with it. Well done.
I imagine some of you are shitting yourselves (sorry Mum) about which school will have been selected for your child. You have your heart set on your first choice and it is almost unbearable to think you have the weekend to wait until you know whether it’s a yes or no, and what-the-pencil-case will you do if it is choice two or even three?
And then I hope that some of you will be facing the same mental barrier that I am. You are not ready to let go. You cannot possibly conceive how it is almost time to be sending a child who was, last time you checked, a tiny baby, to school.
Actual school, with actual classrooms and teachers and pencils and pens and learning. How can this possibly be happening?
God, I hope I’m not alone in feeling this. Of the three schools we listed on our application, I have a preference for Blake, but actually there wasn’t much between the three of them and I’m fairly sure each of them would provide him with a happy, stable environment for the next TOO MANY years. The fact of the matter is I just really really do not want him to be going to school yet.
Some of you probably think I am insane. One of those types who watches over their child while they sleep crooning NO-ONE WILL EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU and quietly embedding the mantra that NO-ONE LOVES YOU MORE THAN MUMMY in their little mind. I promise I am not. I decided long ago that I will not be the mother who grasps on to her boy. I will not stand in the way of whatever makes him happy (unless it’s something awful and illegal but you catch my drift). I will try to never allow the weight of my emotions to sit on his shoulders. I want him to be his own person, know his own mind and have conviction in his decisions. So I will back off and let him be.
But here’s the truth. These four years have been the most joyful of my life. Yes, they have been hard. I have been exhausted, I have been confused and at times I have been at my wits end. I am not a woman who believes that you must have a child to validate your life or experience true love or any such nonsense. What I do know is that for me, Blake is an utter blessing and my life is infinitely better for having him in it.
We are not a family with a whole heap of disposable income, so it has been a steady four years of visiting the park, reading together, charging around National Trust properties, soft play, garden centres, In the bloody Night Garden, digging in the flower bed, riding bikes, ploughing round the supermarket, swimming, visiting grandparents, ice-creams, hugs, kisses, museums, zoos and the odd holiday thrown in. A very regular childhood. But bugger me, it’s been magical.
It meant the world to me to be able to spend Blake’s first nine months with him, and since then we have been able to make it work on a three-day working week for me. My four-day weekends with him have been precious. I’m sure I’ve written before about the fact that when we decided we’d like to be parents, I couldn’t see past having a baby. I saw nothing beyond a tiny bundle in tiny clothes that needed to be fed and rocked and winded and nurtured. I couldn’t have imagined what an utter privilege it would be to see that baby change into a toddler and on to a little individual in their own right. Nothing prepared me for quite how amazing it has been to watch our Blake emerge over these four years.
They have passed so quickly. I cannot believe we are mere months away from the school gates. I’m sure it will all be fine. I hope he will love school. I think he is ready for the stretch of it, I think he is ready for something new. But I am not. It feels like an ending of sorts, the beginning of letting him go. A thing I know I must do, but not something I want to be confronted with or have to start to do yet.
And so I’ll be giving myself a stern talking to on Monday as I sit pressing refresh on my inbox. This was always going to come around. I won’t let Blake know or see that I feel this way. Whichever school is on that email will be part of our future for the next 7 years. But if you too feel the way that I do, join me this weekend in eating a lot of cake, have a Gin for me and hug your child a little longer at bedtime. Good luck for Monday x
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