Monday, 9 September 2013

Starting School. Holding Hands and My Nerve

Today my eldest daughter had her first day at school. It went a bit how I expected, as she has recently become sensitive to separation from her parents, which I elaborated on the blog. The teachers have seen it all before, I have no doubt, but for me it was uncharted waters plus a huge life event for Lulu.

As part of the settling in, the pupils start at 1pm. We spent the morning calmly preparing her book bag, the final bits of her treasure box and making sure her uniform was ironed and she was well groomed. She even told me how excited she was to be started school. But when it was time to get her shoes on, she leaned into Daddy and started to cry. Without too much fuss, we reassured her, cuddled her and continued to get out of the door and walk to school. There were regular laments of 'Mama' and 'Daddeee' all the way down.

We held our nerve, well my husband was calm and confident, I followed his lead as much as I could. Deep down I was distraught with a huge lump in my throat trying to hold back the tears. Firstly because I wanted to do everything in my power to reassure her that school will be the most awesome thing in her life so far and that there's no need to feel sad. Secondly because I felt like such an inadequate mother for not having done a better job at reassuring her and cultivating a more confident child. At this moment in time I was most certainly not 'contented'!

This is one of the downsides of social media. Despite relishing the daily exploits of my friends, especially those with big life events looming such as their children starting school, seeing all the photos of seemingly confident and proud kids in their uniform before leaving for their first day didn't help my frame of mind. 'Switch it off!' I told myself but that was easier said than done. And yes I know, those photos are only a snapshot in time that a parent clings on to but amidst all the walking-to-school-tears I wasn't getting our 'proud moment' encapsulated memories. I had to put the camera away as it was a bridge too far. I selfishly felt a little cheated, albeit it may be karma for the times I've blatantly posted proud/ 'show-off' updates while another parent could have been feeling the same. Social media karma, now there's a 21st century term if ever there was one.

Today's school run story does have a more uplifting ending. On collection we waited for the school gates to open. My brain was even too occupied to survey the other school gate parents - which we know is bad if I can't be bothered to be nosy. Lulu came bounding out of the classroom like Tigger, smiling from ear to ear. The teachers said there had been a few wobbles but on the whole better than we left. I got my 'happy' photo which I shared privately with family & friends, not social media and have used a different one on this blog. Day one lesson learned!

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