And so another school year begins
Today Juniordwarf started Grade 3.
I don’t know about anyone else who has kids, but these holidays seemed to fly by. Yet even though the holidays have zoomed past us, last year (when we were wishing his Grade 2 teacher all the best for her retirement) seems like a lifetime ago.
Time’s a funny thing. Something can go past in the blink of an eye, yet seem like it started foreverago.
When I was Juniodwarf’s age the summer holidays seemed to drag on and on, and I’d get incredibly bored. Yes, in those days the summer holidays were longer than they are now we’ve got a 4-term system but, even so, the holidays seemed to last forever.
I expect my mother, at home with 2 kids, felt the same way.
And I don’t know if I’d been at home with him the entire time if I’d feel the same way about these holidays too. But I wasn’t. I spent most of January at work, with a few days here and there for our little getaways and then towards the end, I took some time off to spend with Juniordwarf.
He never seemed bored while I was with him, but leading up to school going back he started to get excited about going back. He was especially excited about seeing his friends.
Even if there were periods when he got bored, he never seemed to experience that excruciating, neverending boredom that I remember from my childhood.
Yesterday I told him he was my big Grade 3 boy, and he told me seriously he wasn’t a Grade 3. Not yet. Not until tomorrow. Until then I’m Grade Zero. I’m not in a grade yet.
OK. If you insist. Who am I to argue?
I guess I got a bit sentimental last night.
He’s now been at school for 4 of his 8 years. Half his life. This year is the start of his ‘big kid’ years at primary school. His classroom is in the main building. He’ll have his first taste of the NAPLAN tests. He’s not a little kid any more.
I remembered back to just before he started school in 2011. How distressed I’d been about putting him into this system we call education. (I wrote a post about it here.)
This time wasn’t like that. This time was more reflective and wondering.
I watched him sleeping last night and I thought I could see, in the dark, with my crap eyesight, a glimpse of what he’d look like when he was a lot older.
Sleep is honest. It shows you things you don’t see when people are awake.
When my father was ill and Juniordwarf was a small baby, I can remember looking in at my sleeping father and thinking how much like a sleeping baby, how like Juniordwarf, he looked. So peaceful.
The same feelings came back to me last night. I could see, if it wasn’t a trick of the light, the young man he is going to become.
And I wondered . . . Is this the year?
Is this the year he leaves behind some of his treasured playthings and companions?
Is this the year he stops wearing his exotic headwear?
Is this the year he tells me not to come into school with him?
Is this the year he doesn’t want to hold my hand any more?
Is this the year?
I don’t know. A part of me doesn’t want any of this to happen. I love who he is right now and I love the things he does, the things he wears and his assortment of companions, real and imaginary.
But I know that, just like he’s moved on from Ben & Holly, he will – when he’s ready – move on and grow up. He’ll find new interests, new things to delight and amuse me with, and new people to be with. Eventually he won’t want me around as much (or ever).
None of this might happen this year (I hope it doesn’t) but, even though I know it has to happen, it’s going to be hard to cope with.
Perhaps one reason for feeling like this is that every first for me is a last as well.
With only one child, every first wobbly tooth will be the last first wobbly tooth. Every first day at school will be the last first day at school. When he grows out of something, there won’t be anyone else to love it, play with it or do it any more.
And so I tell myself to make the most of the moments I have because I won’t have these chances again. So at the times I’m with him*, I’m trying to fully enjoy the quirky things he does – even the ones that are annoying (remember Ben & Holly?) – to be present and engaged, to observe when he’s entertaining himself and to participate when he needs me.
I owe it to him, and I owe it to me.
* Opens discussion about boundaries and me-time, which don’t quite fit here!
Oh yes Penni! I’d not thought about it like that. I’m ever conscious of how what seems like a throwaway line to me at the time could well be something that sticks in his head forever – just like some things my parents said to me have become defining statements for me, which trump almost everything else they ever said and did. Even now it’s hard to recognise them for what they most likely were at the time, and let them go.
You’re so right about being present and engaged. I think it’s okay to linger at those firsts and lasts, but I try not to project this on my kids. My dad often lamented that I was no longer a child when I was a teenager and I thought at the time it meant he didn’t like me as I was, that I was too messy (and because I felt messy inside, I thought there was something bad or wrong about that).