I have been anticipating the silence. I have been making a mental list of all the things I would get done, the minute you were gone. Spending time apart is nothing new for us. I went back to work part time when you were six months old. So we are good at good-byes.
But today was different.
My Facebook newsfeed spiralled with ‘first day of school’ updates. Messages of little cousins and our niece sent to my phone. Little girls all dressed up in their way too big uniforms and hair tied up in pony tails.
My study has been overrun with your school things. Scattered on my desk have been your lunchbox, drink bottle, plastic boxes for your sandwiches and snacks. Little labels etched with your name, waiting to be placed on all the items you need to take.
You acted like a seasoned pro in the morning. Dressed, posed for photos and school bag on ready to go. One minute you were still in your pyjamas playing Angry Birds with your brother and the next minute we were out the door and on our way.
Through the school gates, my heart melted as I watched you and your brother walk hand in hand with Daddy. Chuffed, I thought to myself “we have this all sorted.”
Your classroom was chaotic. There were parents and grandparents huddled at the door. There were prolonged good-byes and lots of crying. Daddy took over and got you all settled. Name tag on and off to do a puzzle. I just snapped away with my camera. These were the moments that I wanted to last forever.
Watching you, I was lost in my own world. Remembering you as a baby and thinking just how much you have grown. When Daddy turned to me and said “we should go and let him start his day.” That was the exact moment when I froze. Turning to the teacher I asked “when would you like the parents to leave?” “Now,” she said and smiled.
As I turned back around, Daddy was giving you a high-five and nudged me to do the same. I could not leave. A high-five was not enough. So I bent down and hugged your little shoulders and whispered “Mummy loves you.”
Leaving, before you could see me cry.
So the chuffed, confident mum that walked into the school grounds only minutes earlier, walked out with a tear stained face. Pangs of sadness pulled at my heart.
Today is a new chapter. A chapter that only bears a title. No words have been written. No stories of great adventure. No stories of new things learnt. No stories of great friends made. The pages are empty and my little boy holds the words in his hands.
At least, for part of my day, I will have the silence. To contemplate how I will find the balance. The balance between reading my son’s words and helping him write them.
How did you cope with your first day?