Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote about (some of) my worries about my eldest daughter starting school. We had walked up to the local high street and, along with my youngest, the three of us had chosen and bought Christmas cards together. That afternoon, it dawned on me that there was an end-date on what had previously felt like endless days spent as a threesome. We had nine months left until the start of her Reception year, when our time together would be crammed into weekends and the few hours either side of school. I found it hard to accept that her pre-school childhood was coming to an end.
One year on from that blog post, and S has been at school for three months. She has made friends, learned to write simple words, and, most importantly, is happy. She doesn’t hesitate when she walks into the classroom, she looks forward to PE and show and tell, and doesn’t get the Monday Blues after the weekend. She was ready to start school.
A couple of weeks ago she came home with her painting of a Christmas tree with a code stuck on the back so that parents can order the picture as Christmas cards. I dutifully ordered a pack, imagining my mum and sister proudly displaying a card this Christmas. I will keep one copy tucked away with my own Christmas decorations ready to be displayed every year until long after S has left home. Whilst I might think her painting is the best thing I’ve ever seen, I realise that most people will see no artistic talent whatsoever, and so for these people I will be buying charity Christmas cards as I do every year.
Last November, it felt poignant that it was the three of us choosing the Christmas cards, whereas this year it will most likely just be myself and the little one, F, on one of our weekdays together. I thought I would feel sad, but instead I feel quite positive about it. S has moved on to new things and created her own cards this year, and F will enjoy helping me choose cards from a shop, just the two of us.
And perhaps this has shown me that I can change my mindset. The next parenting hurdle or milestone feels daunting when it’s being anticipated, but I am starting to see that by the time I reach it, the children will have grown and become ready for the next step.
I have seen how happy S is to be at school; the last six months at home before she started were tedious for her and stifled her thirst to learn. Now, she is exploring, growing, learning, and teaching me new things. I thought that her starting school would break my heart, but knowing that she is happy and thriving is all I ever wanted for her.