I’ve just got back from dropping both of my children off at school. Yes both. For today is the day that our youngest child begins the mammoth journey that is primary school. I’ll be honest, I’m trying to muster some emotions around the whole thing. Do I feel sad that she is now enveloped in to the school system? Sad that she’s ‘not a baby anymore’? Sad that I no longer have a baby/toddler/pre-schooler? Sad that our lives have changed just a little bit?
The answer is no, actually, I don’t feel sad. I feel guilty for not feeling sad, of course – that’s obligitory, but no, I don’t feel sad.
But equally, I’m not whooping and getting out the party poppers. I’m not skipping around the house or fist pumping the air either.
I just feel ok.
I’ve reflected over the summer holidays on the new start that we all faced.
I’ve re-called over and over, the beautiful and terrifying moment that my youngest daughter emerged in to this world. The ear splitting silence that followed as we waited longer than everyone was comfortable with, for her to utter her first cry.
I’ve reminisced about the hell of sleep deprivation, the stress of trying to manage a baby and a toddler, the overwhelming sense of feeling overwhelmed by the overwhelming responsibility of motherhood.
I’ve had a rose tinted peep at tantrums, nappy changing, potty training, baby-led weaning and pram wrangling.
I’ve smiled at the memories of all the firsts – first bum shuffle, first crawl, first steps, first shoes, first words.
I’ve remembered all of the things we have done together, my youngest and I. Toddler groups, library rhyme times, swimming groups, soft play, forest school, cafe lunches, muddy walks, puddle splashing, gymnastics club, arts and crafts, play doh, baking and more.
And all of the times that we just hung out together at home whilst her big sister was at school. Me busily getting on with jobs, life admin and chores and my daughter happily playing. Lost in her own imagination, chattering away in a world only she could understand.
At times (a lot of times) I have been at the end of my tether, climbing the walls and sobbing in to a packet of biscuits. Not because I’ve had it especially hard, just because that is par for the course with parenting. It’s tough.
And now, like every parent with a new starter today, I am marvelling at the passage of time and how the past 4 and a half years have flashed by and how everyone was right with their cliched warnings of ‘Enjoy every minute because it goes so quick’.
But I have no regrets. I did enjoy every minute, even the shit minutes. I can see that now.
And so no, I don’t feel sad.
I feel ready.
My daughter is ready. (She walked through her classroom door so confident and eager this morning, I had to call her back for a kiss!)
We are all ready for the next phase. A new era. My husband and I made sure the girls had a fun packed summer. We went on lots of outings, had lots of quality family time and made lots of memories.
Parenting doesn’t stop here of course and as far as I can see we still have so much to look forward to as a family.
So bring on the new phase of parenthood.