Sometimes you need a little time before you can write about something. Time to decipher the emotions, space to let things be long enough to see a clear path.  Last week, when my youngest child started school, I really didn’t know how I was feeling. I was distracted by the 5yo having a wobble about her new class, mopping up tears and laughing shrilly about how this was all a lot of fun. As I pushed the 5yo through the door I glanced at the 4yo, hoping to see that she hadn’t contracted the collywobbles – she was unsure, willing to be persuaded – this was good.

Hurrying to her classroom I skirt the brand new parents, feeling the confidence of an old hand who knows the routine: Bookbag in blue box – check, water bottle in tray – check, name on board – check, child wrapped around leg in manner of small monkey – check…. oh hell.

Face fixed in a confident smile, voice notched up 57 octaves, I direct her over to her favourite TA.  She relaxes a little, unwilling to relinquish her grip but open to suggestion. The TA seizes the opportunity, pulling her gently towards her, a quick kiss, love you and a hand squeeze and I’m away, bolting for the door, casting sympathetic smiles at those unable to tear themselves free.

Outside I breathe, stroll back to the car, start the engine and drive off without the usual check of seatbelts and smiles.  I can listen to the radio station of my choice, chat to myself, drive in a slightly manic fashion and yet the car stays silent, the drive home sombre.  I am not sad, nor happy, just a little bit numb.

This feeling pervades.  I try to shake it, reminding myself that she’s been going to pre school regularly for ages now, away from me for the morning and often, again for the afternoon following a lunchtime bite and a snuggle.  But this is different isn’t it? She’s begun her journey.  Only days after her fourth birthday she’s entered a new world, one where my word will never again be gospel, where she will learn things beyond my realm of knowledge.  She’ll come home full of chatter and laughs and she’ll teach me new things, she’ll make new friends and be hurt by things out of my control.  She’ll dance to Abba in the morning air and when she falls over in the playground it won’t be me that picks her up and kisses her better, but I will tell her every day that I love her and I’m so proud of her.

I’m happy for her, but I miss her already.  I miss her warm little body and the fact that she won’t speak to anyone but me.  I want to see her blossom but I’m terrified of letting her go.  She is my last, my third baby and already she’s telling me off for calling her that. My tears, when they come, are not for her, they are for me.  For the younger woman who has just completed a rite of passage. I have said my goodbyes and acknowledged that I will never hold another of my own babies. I am done and now it’s time to watch my children grow, to learn with them, to make my mistakes and do my best to put them right.

Knowing me it will be an eventful ride, knowing you it will be beautiful…


This is my entry for Tara’s Gallery. This week the theme is ‘Back to School’ *sob*

Knowing me, knowing you….
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25 thoughts on “Knowing me, knowing you….

  • September 7, 2010 at 5:42 am

    A beautiful post. I will be there in January, allbeit my first.
    You have entered a very exciting chapter, if different, your daughter will flourish and it will give you the space now to really soar.


  • September 7, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Paula, such a beautiful post and one that many parents will be able to familiarise themselves with. I am not yet in that position but I do dread the day – for me not for them. My youngest is a toughy.

  • September 7, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Wow Paula, what a poignant and true post, beautiful images and moving words. I feel everyone of them and know that they are so, so right

  • September 7, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I know exactly how you feel. EXACTLY. I’ve seen two children through their first day now and second time seems harder, knowing I have no more babies in my house!
    Need to find a friend with some chuchy babies to munch . . .

  • September 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

    *sobbing uncontrollably*…I was FINE til I read this. Well, fine-ish. You have captured it so well. Lovely. xxx

    ps when I waved my third off I felt the same….then, whoops!

  • September 7, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Such a lovely post. I’ve been trying to think what to say all morning but I keep crying. For myself obviously. When those big brown eyes in the B&W pic scrolled, up I started howling. She’s gorgeous, and it’s very hard saying goodbye to our babies. But the next bit’s good too. You should be very proud of her and of yourself for handling it so well. *passes box of kleenex*. Can I have a hug now please?

  • September 7, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Sorry blue eyes x

  • September 7, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Damn you woman, making me cry like that. I wrote a similar post a while back…to the effect that my boy was ready, but I’m not. But said it waaaaay better. Lovely post, very moving. You write ‘so’ elegantly x

  • September 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Lovely post, P – the complete opposite to mine (as usual) 😀

  • September 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Crying now.

    Beautiful post. It is a rite of passage certainly. I’ve still got one more at home to go and then that will be me.

    Beautifully expressed and the slideshow made me cry even harder.

  • September 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    A great set of pictures and a marvellous piece. Conveys the mixed emotions beautifully. Nice work, lovely. x

  • September 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I knew you were struggling P but you have done it. Yes she has started a wonderful journey but so can you!!

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  • September 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Your kids are ADORABLE! What gorgeous photos of them!!

    And what an amazing post. Aaaaarrrggh, I am scared of my little ones growing up! By the time mine go to school, you really will be an old hand and I will have to run to you for advice in keeping it together!



  • September 7, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Really lovely post and your kids are gorgeous!

  • September 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I spent most of last night watching him sleep and don’t expect much different tonight and today was just the tea party- Yikes.

    With my first, last and only – it is hard to know which way is up but lovely to know there is a knowing shoulder to call on when the damn breaks.

    Thanks for the great post.

  • September 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Beautiful post, beautiful pictures, beautiful children. I would write more but you’ve made me a tad emotional. xx

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  • September 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Beautiful words, stunning pictures. All these sad mummies are making me dread the time it happens for us…. though happen I know it will.

  • September 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Gah, I have done it again. Was sure I had left a comment but its not there. Love the pictures and the words, and big hugs to you.

  • September 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Incredibly moving post *hugs*

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