First Day at School: Champagne Flutes and F#@K Ups
The excitement was tangible in my home this morning, as the children chattered excitedly about seeing their friends at school. I meticulously packed the lunchboxes, as Hubby stuffed what looked suspiciously like Champagne glasses into a bottle shaped cooler.
Ask any parent – 6 weeks is a long time to keep 3 young children occupied, and even modest excursions like picnics at the park and visiting playmates you haven’t seen in months, can leave a dent in the bank balance when interspersed with trips to the cinema, the local swimming pool and other family days out.
And let’s not even mention what I may have spend on the after-7pm tipple to wind down – Mummy often requires a double-dose of her grape-based medicine during school holidays!
But besides that, our family had an extra special reason to celebrate today. This morning we were sending our youngest off to school for the first time. Any mother who has been in my shoes before, and I am aware there have been a gazillion, knows that the first child’s first morning of school is met with a mixture of pride and trepidation. Loosening those apron strings for the first time can be exciting and disconcerting, as if you are letting them enter a world, which you only realise at the classroom door, you have far less control over than you have hitherto been used to.
The second child, in contrast, cannot wait to join their sibling. They’ve been with you through the drop offs and the pick ups and they know the school almost as well as their sibling. They are totally at home on their first day, and you can’t help but feel a little lost as they run through the classroom door without so much as a backward glance in your direction, arms raised in gleeful defiance like William Wallace, yelling “Freeeeee-dom!”
By the time it comes to the last child’s turn (or in my case the third), you’ve already spent the last couple of weeks mentally processing the changes that having all of your children will entail. Maybe it’s an opportunity to study, or work, or say goodbye to childcare fees – having all of your children step out of the nest and into the schoolyard opens up a world of possibilities.
I won’t deny, that despite my expectations to the contrary, my eyelids did have to work on overtime blinking back the swelling tide as my usually extroverted little girl gripped at my neck and whispered “Mummy, I don’t know what to do at school.”
At the first sign of the chin wobble, I knew my role. I gave Hubby, and Bubble’s grandmothers ‘the nod’ and watched them expertly commando crawl out of the room as I soothed her with comforting words, allaying her fears that she ‘can’t even do spelling yet” by telling her that that was exactly why she was at school. She was there to learn and I would be there at the end of the day to pick her up, and to help her to understand anything that she might have struggled with during the day.
And then I kissed and hugged her and headed out the door. If there is one thing I have learnt over the years, it is never linger. Only rookies linger! And it never NEVER ends well!
As I walked through the school gates, I was greeted by Hubby, and a glass of golden bubbles.
“Really?” I laughed, quietly glad of the distraction as my mind darted back to my little girl in her big school dress, with a look of uncertainty I was not used to seeing etched into her little features. “I’m not sure that this is the best place to be celebrating – right outside the school gates!”
“She’ll be fine,” Hubby assured me. “You know she’s got this!”
And I knew instantly as I inhaled the cool effervescent liquid that he was right. She’d be better than fine. She would fill my ears with chatter all evening about the things she had done and the new little people she’d met.
It’ll be a new chapter for both of us.
And we will be both have a chance to shine.
For those of you who are rolling your eyes at the unexpectedly sentimental turn this post took, rest assured that I didn’t disappoint in my uncanny ability to find myself in a compromising/embarrassing situation. No sooner had a raised my glass for the photo of Hubby and I to be taken OUTSIDE the school gate, the NEW Principal walked out, smiled dubiously and said “Oh, I take it, you’ve just sent your last one off to school?”
Although the new Principal (who is so fresh, I am yet to learn his name) told me that he had sent his young son off to his first day of kinder this morning also – I couldn’t help but feel that swilling a glass of bubbles (regardless of how expensive) at the school gate after dropping off my offspring may not have been the best introduction.
As we ambled home, glasses clinking cheerfully in the canvas Champagne cooler, Hubby reassured me.
“A cheeky glass of bubbles is fine! Now…if we’d been cracking a can of VB each…THAT would be a bad look!”
Perspective is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
How was your child’s your first day of school?
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