Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Slipping Through My Fingers: Her First Day of School

Friday, 24 August 2018

Slipping Through My Fingers: Her First Day of School

Today it happened.

I knew that it was coming and, to be honest, more recently it has gone from being a vague August date pencilled in to the not too distant future, to a craved, crossing off the calendar- type, event. For today, my daughter has started school.

At four and a half, she is on the younger side of the permissable age range but I never really worried about her starting or contemplated deferring as she has always possessed an insatiable curiosity that in more recent times I was struggling to assuage. She has never shown anything less than emotional maturity but more recently she has been bedevilled by an effervescence of spirit that borders on insanity. 

It has been hell.

In my sensible parenting hat I realise that the volume and mania has all been due to nerves and the fear of the unknown with her school date hanging in the periphery. I know that she wants to love the experience of school as much as she is being told that she will. I am aware that she possesses a desperate need to please and will refuse to admit that there is anything less than unadulterated excitement coursing through her veins but that her anxieties also need an outlet. 

That outlet is cacophonic to the extreme.

When words fail her she moves to singing, tapping, banging, drumming, rattling and even devising her own language which she is willing to teach to any unsuspecting passerby as long as they are willing to swear allegiance to her totalitarian regime. She has been impossible. So, as the first day loomed I wasn't particularly emotional (despite pretending to be) as she had filled me with her own false confidence. This was what she needed; she was desperate for it. Her pre-school had served its purpose but was no longer challenging her in the way that it once had, her friends were making her feel inadequate as a person and she craved stimulation in every sense of the word. School would save us all.

School ready

So, on the 23rd of August the uniform hung in her room like the gown of a young bride; a promise of the amazing life changing day she was about to relish. She would look at it adoringly savouring it's textures and distinct tartan that would identify her as a member of a community; a posse, a clan. She would belong. Breakfast was the same as always with encouragement required to desist from incessant, nonsensical chatter to consume even the meanest morsel. Donning the garments which she had been yearning for followed with only three separate attempts by her parental unit at tying a tie being required. She was ready.

Poised and ready

There was then a 1.5mile journey to contend with; on a scooter. We made it with only minutes to spare. She told us how excited she was and how much she was looking forward to her day. We were dismissed with a distracted wave of the hand as, with tongue poking out of the corner of her mouth, she started furiously colouring a picture of three children skipping through the school gates with wild abandon. 

No tears, from anybody. We had aced this. She was ready, prepared and made for this. School was going to be her domain; her haven. 

Pick up did nothing to dispel our beliefs. Whilst waiting outside the classroom amidst the other anxious faces we could hear her voice ringing out. Despite exchanging rueful glances, my husband and I were secretly delighted that she had clearly retained her joyful enthusiasm for life and everything that school had to offer. Her constant chatter continued throughout the afternoon and evening with any query about her day being met with nothing but unadulterated zeal. 

"I love school!"
"Best day ever Mummy!"
"I am going to love school even more than you did Mummy!"

Well that was an odd comment but I initially dismissed it until her eyes filled with tears.

"There was this one thing though Mummy. At lunch I was in the playground and I couldn't find anyone. The girl I was meant to stay with kept running away from me. I missed you then Mummy." She sniffed. "It was just that one thing though Mummy."

My heart broke.

I put her to bed. I told her how awesome she was as a human being and how lucky the friends, whom she is yet to discover, will be to have her in their lives.

Then I took myself off and wept. 

No one warns you about the second day of school.

She is awesome.

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