I have to say, I did roll my eyes a little last September as the umpteenth photo of a child in their uniform, ready to start their first day at school appeared on my Facebook newsfeed.
However, as my daughter’s start date gradually approaches, and having just been to buy some of the uniform from the school shop (cute cardis, little tie, sweet woolly hat, mini-sized gym kit, logoed school bag etc), I know in my heart-of-hearts I will be doing exactly the same – apologies in advance to all of my friends that won’t be interested in the slightest.
I’m excited about this new chapter for Sofia, and I know she’s going to love it, but the idea of her starting school ignites conflicting emotions in me. With 21-month-old twins on the scene, I thought I’d really welcome having one less child to entertain on a daily basis. However, as the time draws closer, as well as selfish fears about the dreaded school run, I’m sad that we will no longer have the freedom to go where we want whenever we want; we’ll be confined to the school holidays when everything will be busy. I’ll no longer be able to choose our day-to-day schedule or wake up in the morning and spontaneously decide that we’ll go on a mystery tour somewhere.
I have started to think that maybe I haven’t done enough with her whilst we’ve had the luxury of ‘free time’, but our car fuel bills are testament to the number of groups we attend, the amount of visiting we do and the excursions we go on. I always seem to be doing housework. Perhaps sometimes I should have forsaken unnecessary vacuuming for an extra story or an additional trip to the park? Mum guilt: usually totally unfounded but ever-present.
In this lead up to D-day there’s been a plethora of forms to fill and dates to remember and attend. I’ve actually found it fairly stressful as I’m very eager to get things just right ahead of this important milestone. Sofia is taking it all in her stride, she barely gave a sideways glance when I left her for the first time for an hour in what will be her new class; it’s me that has got the nerves.
And finally, aside from everything else, it’s just rather weird to think I have a school-age child. How did that happen?