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The Reality of Starting School


The Reality of Starting School


With lots of talk at the moment about school placements being confirmed, it has made me reflect. 

8 years I worked with children, before becoming a Mother. The years rolled around fast. Really fast. I watched as parents brought their children to school in the playground holding it together before walking away with tears rolling down their face. I understood it was a big step - leaving your child in a new place with new people. But until I became a Mother myself I didn't understand how this new chapter made you feel, fully. 

I didn't appreciate the heartache, the sleepless nights, the worry. 

Now I get it and its really tough!

I tried to ignore the looming time for applications. I reluctantly attended open days at schools and I didn't get that feeling visiting any of them. I worried that I was being picky. I wanted the best for my daughter and I just couldn't find it.

Eventually I found the school. I applied and I had restless nights until the place was confirmed. I was full of joy, once we did. Finally I could relax. But this journey was only just beginning. Yes we had the place we wanted. But I wasn't ready. The sleepless nights began again. Tears fell from my eyes and soaked into my pillow every single night. The feelings were so overwhelming and I didn't like how it was all out of my control. The world was sleeping but my head was spinning with thoughts that quite simply tortured me.

For 4 years it has been just me and her. We played, we danced. We always ate lunch together. We watched movies together. Got messy with crafts together. Some days we stayed in our PJ's, ALL DAY!. Some days we would enjoy a bubble bath straight after breakfast. We would venture out. Meet with friends. Eat ice cream. I didn't realise how limited these early days were. I regretted not appreciating how quickly time was moving. 

The thought of not knowing what she was doing. If she was ok. Would somebody help her and reassure her if she needed it? Would she be happy? Would she be hungry? - Quite simply it was all too much and it broke my heart! 

My face looked like I was suffering from an allergic reaction for the two weeks leading up to the first day. I cried so many tears. Lost so much sleep. I tried to speak to friends and family but I didn't feel like anyone appreciated just how much my heart was aching. 


The Reality of Starting School


The first day came around too quickly for my liking. I will never forget it. The sky was the bluest of blues. The sun was beating down and she woke full of happiness. I got her dressed into her uniform. She looked beautiful. Wow! 

I held it together taking her to school, which was a miracle. We walked hand in hand. I tried to focus my thoughts in an attempt to control my emotions. In she went, and I couldn't look back. I felt guilty about that. But I knew if I looked back I wouldn't have been able to have left her. 

The hours felt like days. I came home and cried about having to eat my dinner on my own. I cried about her bedroom laying untouched. I worried about if she was drinking enough. Had she made a friend or two? Did she manage to pull her tights up ok after going to the toilet? You name it, it crossed my mind. 

Pick up time came and I was the first one in the line. I was eagar to see my girl. You see this would be the moment where my thoughts would change. 

She ran to me shouting "Mommy", her arms flung around me with the biggest smile. I was so touched at how happy she was to see me. She walked home with a leap in her step telling me all about her day. 

The relief, the stress, the worry lifted in that very moment.

Over the coming weeks I watched her build relationships with her peers. I couldn't have asked for a nicer bunch of children. It touched me how her teacher and the support staff went out of their way to get to know her. They appreciated her creativity and imagination and that meant the world to me. They took their time to approach me and give me insights to her day. I felt included. 

She would walk out with her friends holding hands, skipping together and giggling. Before long they would be enjoying visits to one another's house for tea and play dates. 

Most days she would come home with artwork, proudly showing off things she had made.

Why had I tortured myself so much?

For 4 years it has been just me and her. This wasn't the start of me losing her, like I had believed it was. This was the start of us embracing a new chapter. Yes we spend a little less time together but while we are away she is growing in so many ways. It's a joy to see.

We make the most of time together, as we always have. We play before school, after school, at weekends and during holidays. We never stop dancing. We will never stop watching movies together. PJ days will never come to an end and now she helps me prepare the lunches.

I feel proud. I feel happy knowing shes happy.

But this is only something I have discovered after going through the process. It's ok to feel sad. To worry and cry uncontrollably. Changes can be hard. Really hard.

For years you have longed for a baby. You have grown together. You've both taught each other so much. It's been one hell of a journey. Ups and downs. It's been full on. But it's been a time that you will cherish forever.

So if you are struggling with this new chapter looming, don't be hard on yourself. It's ok not to be ok. In the back of your mind, try and be kind to yourself. Before long you too will be embracing the new stages of your lives together. You will be touched at the staff getting to know your child. That first piece of art work that comes home will melt you! The way the rush out to greet you. How they can't wait to share their adventures with you!

Its all rather magic in the end.



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Amy Louise
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