Next week, my little girl will start school. Every day I read another blog post or Facebook status about what an emotional experience it is seeing them off for that first day. But I won’t be sad. And I know you already think less of me for it, you’ve got me down as a bad mother. The type that doesn’t care about my little girl. Doesn’t worry about how she’ll get on and won’t miss her when she’s not around every day.
But you’re wrong, I do care. I care enough to have looked around all the local schools and found the one that was right for her. I care enough to make a 45 minute round trip morning and afternoon because the class sizes are small and they help children with the sort of difficulties that she’s likely to experience.
And I will miss her. I’ll miss her enough to have given up my career when she was just five months old to allow us to have four amazing years together. I’ll miss the days we’ve spent going to playgroups, trampolining, ballet lessons, soft play, cafés, walking, running, cycling and just being at home together.My daughter is young for her year. She has problems with her eyes and in the past she’s been heartbroken when parents turned a blind eye to their children being unkind to her. She can’t catch a ball or run very fast and she’s soft-natured and has no idea what to do in the face of bullying. I have every reason to worry about her and shed a tear as she embarks on school life.
But I won’t, because it’s not about me. When I wave her off at those school gates, I’ll be kissing goodbye to a happy, excited little girl who can’t wait to get in there. A child that wants to learn, make friends, get stuck into the school messy play and get to know her teachers. She’ll always be my baby but she’s not a baby anymore, she’s her own person.
And the little person she has become is someone who relishes all the opportunities school presents her with. By allowing myself to let my emotions get in the way of her happiness I’d not only be imposing my own feelings onto her, but I’d be allowing negativity to creep into a positive, optimistic, open little mind.I am an adult, as are all those other parents waving to their children at the school gates. We all have our own thoughts and feelings about our children’s impending school days. But we have no right to show them. As grown-ups, it’s our responsibility to put our children’s needs before our own.
I know my daughter well enough to know that she needs positive words of encouragement, a quick hug and a big smile as I walk away. And that’s what she’ll get, because I’m genuinely happy for her as she embarks on the next exciting chapter of her life.