There are so many “firsts” in a little person’s life; the first smile, first steps, first tooth, first poonami! These firsts are highly anticipated and met with great enthusiasm from parents – with the exception of the poonami, perhaps. The early years of parenthood are crammed full of exciting and emotional milestones. Arguably one of the most emotional milestones is the first day of school. And in a few days my 5-year-old takes this big step.
First day of school
The first day of primary school is such a huge event in a little one’s life (and possibly even huger for parents)! For many parents, it’s met with conflicted emotions. It signifies the beginning of a new chapter, but the end of another. I’ve been through this a couple of times now and each time it feels like a nuanced experience: happy and sad, exciting and uncertain, bitter and sweet. There’s no doubt about it – taking your child to school for the first time is significant, memorable and emotional.
When my first-born, Miss A, started school, it was so new – for both of us. Plus, being my first baby, it felt huge, like really HUGE. But she was ready as we had given her a bonus year of kinder. When I said my goodbye I did not shed any tears, but I felt the full force of what the day signified.
I was prepared when Miss J started school, but I was also nervous for her, being a child who experiences anxiety. My anxiety, though, receded quickly knowing that her big sister would look after her. And that she did. I feel so happy that Miss H will have not one, but two big sisters looking out for her.
Miss H is the perfect measure of excited and ready for school. Her mood is buoyant. She has skipped through those school gates hundreds of times (seeing her big sisters’ off and running to them happily at pick up). Only this time she will enter the school as a student. Along with thousands of gorgeous Preppies (in NSW I think it’s called Kinder) she will enter the school system. I don’t think anything could eclipse her excitement, not even saying goodbye to me and her baby sister (OK, maybe her sister!). My excitement, however, is tempered by what I am losing. Let me explain.
Of all my children I have spent the most time with Miss H. This is purely because there has been the longest period (4.5 years) between her birth and another baby arriving into the family. I had my first three babies in less than three years. Yes, crazy! Whilst it was lovely (read: intense) and I am convinced it has contributed to their close bond, it meant that my time was divided and one-on-one time was hard to achieve. Miss H is my big “baby” and our bond is super tight. I absolutely adore our conversations, which are interesting, insightful and often very funny. I will miss her incessant chatter when I at home with a one-year-old and “conversation” is mono syllabic!
Dearest Miss H,
Well, here it is – your first day of school. You’ve been jumping out of your skin with excitement about this for weeks, actually months! And tomorrow you join thousands of other kids around Australia to embark on your very first day at primary school. I am SO excited for you.
That is not to say I am not feeling sad, too. We have enjoyed so much one-on-one time together, and I have treasured every minute of it. You have been my lovely shadow, asking hundreds of (impressive) questions every day. Your brain astounds me sometimes. It’s time for the teachers to answer the questions that I cannot. I will miss your questions, curiosity and company.
Miss H, I have watched you grow into a curious, gentle and creative young girl with a quiet confidence and focus. You are going to THRIVE at school. Go get ’em, my girl. Make new friends, soak up the learning, play hard, and come home with lots of stories. I want to hear every detail!
I love you, Miss H. I am immensely proud of you.
Did you have a little one starting school of preschool this year? How did you feel?