Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mothering: beginnings and endings

Three weeks ago exactly, this was the start and end of my day. The beginning. The end. In so many ways.
In two shoes, new shoes, bright shiny black shoes (paraphrased from the great Shirley Hughes), my Little One started primary school. When he went, I thought he wasn't too young for it but he wasn't quite ready. I wasn't quite ready. He was big but so, so little.
He walked in without tears, surprising everyone. He came out with a smile. I watched him, David Attenborough style, all afternoon and evening at home. He had a new swagger. His huge uniform now fit him. He was taller. He had a new place in the world, and it was on top. And I realised, to my surprise, that he was big enough for big school after all. That he was ready. That he had opened a door, stepped through, and had found himself greeted into the big, wide world.
But it was an end too. The sun set on the pre-school years. The years where the largest part of his days was me. When I lead him, guided him, and presented the world to him. Yes he went to nursery, but it was only three hours a day just down the road with a dozen or so others. That was a stepping stone over a stream. This was a burnt bridge across a river.
It was an end for him but he's looking forward, following that sun over the horizon. I am left in the darkness behind, and though I know it's right for him, and though I know I've looked forward to the time and freedom for me... there's a large hole in my days the size of my little man, and it's staring back at me. He's the elephant in the room, the ache in my heart. Three weeks in, I'm more settled, he's had his tearful days, and things are much more normal for both of us in the wobbly way we're taking on this new page in his life. But golly, I miss him.

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