“At least you’ve still got one at home” they say and “I bet you can’t wait to just have one at home” but it seems that children don’t really work like that. The love and experience you have with one can’t be replaced simply by another. To be fair, I thought it would be easy this time. I do have one at home still and I have done this before and know that there are many good things to come, but it isn’t easier. Not at all. Not one bit. In fact, it feels harder. Because, whilst I know that school brings with it so many positives, I also know that even after two years I long for school holidays and hate the first day of term. Waving my eldest off on a Monday always feels a bit sad. Our time is no longer our own and I still haven’t accepted it.
I also know that things are never the same. That time where they are yours is gone. For each of them it is different. For each of them it is just as precious and is over too quickly. Maybe, even quicker when it is not the eldest. It feels as if Nano has had less of me, actually he has had less of me. The time when his older sibling was at school and his younger one hadn’t arrived was short, only a few months. There is that mother’s guilt whispering in my ear. “You didn’t give enough of your time, of yourself” “He has missed out”. Of course, he hasn’t. We all find our place in our families, carve out our role and we are all different. Some of it hard wired, some a result of how we are nurtured. I am sending this one to school a very different boy to his brother. Sharp, funny, full of confidence and charisma and ready, oh so ready. He seems totally unphased by it all and excited to be starting this new adventure.
It is a cruel irony that school begins just as they are becoming really interesting. The tantrums are waning and in their place is a real person. Someone who is such great company and can do things for themselves. Suddenly they can walk further and have a proper conversation. Yet, it is at this point that we wave them off, looking too little to be wearing proper shoes, it’s the shoes that get me and someone else gets to spend the day with them. It doesn’t seem fair really.
So, here we are. The night before day 1, knowing all of the above, but also knowing that I’ll adjust to our new reality, even though it will jar slightly and there will be many compensations. A clean (ish) house, some time with my girl, just as she’s hitting a really interesting and fun age and seeing him grow and learn, without always having to be the one that drives that change. However, the sum of all that I know won’t stop me from not wanting to let go of his hand tomorrow.