Today was an ordinary day, in the sense of the usual morning routine, I got ready for work said goodbye, and the kids went to school. There are a many days that love has bought a tear to my eye but today was a bit more reflective. I always think about the kids during the day on more than one occasion. Husband usually arrives at work on Thursdays after school drop off as it is a busy work day for me so I get stuck in early and he enjoys a morning to take the kids to school. I always ask how they went and typically they are fine and happy to go to school although it does seem that little miss settles better with daddy than me. I know that is a mum thing. I am slightly proud to say that they do ask for that extra cuddle and put the tears on a little more but I like that and know it is only because I always give the extra cuddle and I always wipe the tears away and tell them it will be okay. Not that daddy doesn’t do that but I think they sense our heart strings playing a little too.
I generally always do school pick up. I love the big smiling faces when they see me. First pick up is the school boy who launches out of the classroom and looks for me. He generally has something to tell me about his day or just wants to find his friends to have a quick play before we head home. I never mind that as it gives me a chance to chat to the totally awesome mums that I have formed wonderful friendships with over our first year of school. It’s amazing how in just one year you can feel like you have known some people for years and a solid and caring friendship has formed when other friendship you can put effort into doesn’t amount to nearly as much. I never expected in our first year to meet some women who I hope will remain life long friends.
You may be wondering what on earth this has to do with love and tears and what not but it does and I will get there I promise. The whole start of school is a huge journey. Pre-school they are pretty much wrapped up in cotton wool which is exactly how you want them to be. Those early years there is several teachers on duty, they are cuddled and nurtured as they learn to be independent thinkers, learn social etiquette and deal with their ever growing amount of emotions. The transition to school is huge. The worry about making sure that after 1 week they don’t hate what is their existence for the next 12 years. Hoping they make new friends and aren’t alone in the playground. Hoping they stand on their own 2 feet because there is only 1 teacher on duty to supervise 200 children. Hoping your child “fits in” because we all do hope to be liked. Hoping they love learning and growing and the classroom structure. It is a lot to take on board and to be honest I didn’t realise it until the few weeks leading up to kindy last year how big a step this was for my little man. Because he was slowly becoming my little big man.
At that moment love brought a tear to my eye
Today his 2nd school photo came home from school with him. I would love to post it here but I won’t. I don’t know why I feel some social media outlets are okay to post my kids and I shouldn’t think it is any different but it feels too personal for now so I won’t. Therefore it probably won’t have the same impact but I’ll try to describe it anyway. (Now’s the time to get a cup of tea and a biscuit for the mushy bit).
I pulled the photo out of the wallet after the usual school pick ups (I didn’t forget little miss but today I focus on my little big man) and I stared at it for a while and that was the moment. As I looked at the picture I had the school transition phase and that part of his growing up, the last 18 months worth of memories shoot through my mind. I had all the things I had worried about. A few small incidences we have had. I thought about some situations he has had to deal with by just being out in the big bad world now and without me there. I thought about how much he had changed in the last 18 month’s and how much he has matured and grown from toddler and preschooler to proper, fully fledged school kid. I thought about the fact he wasn’t my little man anymore, he is growing and learning for himself. I saw all that as I looked at his beautiful face with smiling eyes, new big adult teeth, scruffy hair, a tie and collared shirt and just thought wow. It bought a tear to my eye about how immensely proud I was of him and all he his learnt and grown into, how much he has adapted and learnt to accept the institution and rules of society that we all follow. I am proud of his mind, the way he thinks, the millions of questions that his curious mind asks every single day.
He is my first born child. He is 1 of 2 children with a little sister that learns and grows from him and his actions and completely adores him. He was an only child for 3 years before she came along. I use to think when he was little that I could change him. When he was smaller he was a bit of an introvert. He shied away from social situations and kept to himself for most of his preschool years except for a beautiful little girl he played with every day. No one else. He didn’t really want to engage in craft or drawing like the other kids. This worried me for his transition to school but it mainly worried me because he was so different to me. I am overly social, never shying away from a get together. Talk too much and get involved in most activities. I thought that I could change him and make him like me. But I couldn’t and I almost feel dreadful for trying. I don’t regret pushing him into certain situations though. I did push him socially, not too hard, but enough to help him understand that he could relax and it was okay. And when he was in them he loved them, it was just the first bit, like we all usually except that he was 3 and I was 34. He was and always has been a fairly serious kid and we are quite sarcastic and silly and he actually laughs at our jokes now, thank goodness.
In the end as I looked at the picture of him taken 2 weeks ago I see the fine person he has grown into all on his own. He has had us help and guide him and nudge him here or there but he has grown on his own in his own time. He has so far the balance of serious and silly, the social and the needing quiet time to himself, the compassion and the indifference, the stubbornness and the cooperative. One of our friends on Facebook commented on the photo as my husband posted it and said doesn’t he look like he is going into high school. He has just grown so much. In almost 7 years he is shaping and growing into the person he will be, well mostly, for the rest of his life.
I don’t know if I have explained myself well, parenting can be hard but sometimes you do have moments where you look at them and think I don’t think I have done too badly overall and then holy shit have we come this far?? I could definitely improve some parts of my parenting, but he is my first born and I know that the journey to now is just the beginning. This was the love that brought tears to my eye.