Today my eldest girl started school. I did not cry. I didn’t even feel remotely sad. In fact, I didn’t really feel anything at all, except for relief. Relief that we got her to school on time.
The whole of our little family went with her this morning, in the pouring rain. My husband and I and the two younger girls looked a little ruffled, she looked all sparkly in her brand new school dress and jumper; her logo gleamed proudly on her chest, her schoolbag hitched over my shoulder. As is all her clothing, her school bag is way too big for her. As my Mum commented: “I hope she grows into her bag soon.” She will.
School is just another step in her journey of life. It’s a natural progression. It wasn’t a surprise, nor did it creep up on me. I am unsure why I should be overwhelmed by it. I’ve keenly listened to other parents telling their stories of weeping at the door or sitting in their car after the drop-off and crying. I get it.
I kept waiting for the surge of emotions. Nothing. I was happy for her. She is ready. She needs it. It’s her time to shine. I am excited about the adventure she is embarking on. Soon, she will learn to read and write and for me I see the limitless world of words opening up before her. Her imagination will no longer be held back – it will have free reign. She will be liberated. It thrills me.
When Miss L was born I also didn’t cry. Nothing. I looked at her. I marvelled at her. I didn’t really know what I was meant to do with her. I’d seen the movies. I knew I was meant to be heaving with joy and tears were meant to be flowing from my new mother eyes. Instead, I stroked her face. I drank her in. I breathed her smell. She smelt like me. I closed my eyes and wished for a long life, full of love. I wrapped her up and placed her in her cot beside my bed and stared at her. To be honest, I was more scared than anything.
A couple of nights later, when I had a rare moment of quiet in my hospital room by myself, I looked down at her sleeping face and I held her delicate hand. Tears rolled down by face. The enormity of her presence and my new role had sunk in. I was a Mum. She was my child. I felt love well up inside me I’d never experienced before. I felt the weight of responsibility. I imagined white light beaming from my heart surrounding her on her journey. I knew right then if anything bad ever happened to her that the world would be forever grey. I thought of all the milestones to come.
Today was one of those milestones and while I did not cry I knew it would be forever etched in my memory. Seeing her sit there, in her oversized dress, on the rug in front of her teacher, embarking on her first of many independent adventures. I was proud of her. I was excited for her, but I wasn’t sad.
Did you cry on the first day of school? What about when your baby was born? Do you ever feel you are meant to be feeling something, but don’t?
I’d love to hear your stories.