Miss 5 started school this week. She has been excited and looking forward to this moment for a long time! As early as term 3 in her Kinder year, she has been asking, “Can I go to school yet?” Don’t get me wrong, she had a fabulous kinder year… school just couldn’t come fast enough for her.
Miss 5 is in the middle of our three children. She has watched Mr 7 have a successful start to school and make lots of new friends. She is there for daily drop offs and pick ups and is very familiar with the school environment. She has cousins and friend’s siblings who also attend the same school. She bugs me (daily) to stay a bit longer so she can play on the playground. She has been absolutely dying to get there…
So why, oh why was I feeling so anxious? Actually- anxious, worried, fidgety, but excited too. The last week I’ve been living on edge. Uncertainty. Uncertainty filled my mind.
I am a teacher. I taught grade Prep for the first three years of my career. I have literally had to pry crying children away from their parents on the first day. I have watched many first-day parents hold on until the moment they leave the classroom, when they lose it and sob all the way to the carpark. When Mr 7 started school, I was distressed. I felt like I was handing him over to the lions. I actually felt like I was losing control- I had to accept that I had done the best I could to raise him in the previous 5 years and now I had to TRUST him to be independent and to be a good person… without me there! I also had to trust myself, and hope that we had done a good enough job raising him and preparing him to cope with this change.
He didn’t just cope, he thrived. So when it came Miss 5’s turn to start school, I had different expectations. I knew she was excited. I knew she had the support of her big brother at school. I know her teacher well. I no longer felt out of control. And still, there was anxiety and uncertainty! I started wondering what was wrong with me! This is my second child. I was surprised to be feeling this way.
So the big day arrived. She looked so big and so little all at the same time. Our morning was pretty usual, except she was in her school dress and wore a huge smile the whole way through breakfast. In what seemed like seconds later, we were walking through her new classroom doors. Her still beaming, me still nervous. I watched her walk in, pick up her name tag and go to an activity, still smiling, mind you! Cue deep breath and suddenly a wave of calmness swept over me. Yes, she was going to be fine. Yes, she is going to love school.
Even though I’d been through it before, it remains a
huge massive milestone for both my children and me. With the excitement and thrill for them starting a new chapter in their life, also comes fear and worry and letting go. I am learning to TRUST everything is as it should be. I am already wondering if I will feel the same rollercoaster of emotions when Mr 2 starts school. Maybe I’ll be ready for a party hat and champagne by then!
Just before I left, the teacher came over to take a photo of each child with their parent. Miss 5 put her arms around me and gave me the biggest bear hug imaginable. There were no tears, just a mum walking away with a heart beaming out of her chest and a feeling of complete and overwhelming PRIDE. Absolutely proud of my little girl, and quietly proud of our achievements as parents, anxiety and all.