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They say that the school days are the best days of your life. They weren’t really, for me. But I want them to be for my kids. Finally I understand what everyone meant back then. When else do you get the opportunity to be immersed in learning, to soak up new skills and to develop new talents? Make new friends without the shackles of adult life? Laugh because you feel like laughing? Discover amazing facts about sharks? Run around a field holding hands with your best friend in the world?
So many tiny achievements yet to be made. So many huge leaps to conquer. So much before them all, laid down like a golden road towards… who knows?
And isn’t that the beauty?
Education, however it is served up, is a wonderful privilege. An awesome advantage for our children.
Yet when they’ve gone, and the house is quiet and their smiles belong to someone else for six hours, it feels so empty. The house. Me.
The Big One took a while to settle into school. She attended before and after school club for the first half term, until I took early maternity leave so that I could pick her up instead. She was a cling on to mummy child for such a long time, that leaving her there felt like the ultimate betrayal. Being a teacher, I knew that she would be fine once I left her. But leaving her was the really hard part. The Preschooler (no longer living up to his name-sake, yet I am unable to call him anything else just yet) is a different child. He has embraced school life, despite not really knowing anyone at his new school. Not having big sister to guide him on the playground. Being away from me and The Toddler for five days a week, rather than the three he is used to.
And he is loving it.
He is full of excitement and awe. He is confident. He is making friends faster than I can question him obsessively about whether or not he has anyone to play with on the playground. I realised this weekend that I have no anxiety at all about him being at school. He seems to be settled (for now, at least) and absolutely relishing the whole experience. I couldn’t be more thrilled. It certainly helps me to give myself a shake when the absence of him grows too large to ignore.
He is soon home. With muddy knees, pictures he’s made and his tie round the top of his head.
Fairy surveyed lots of mums of school starters recently and it was found that 25% of them missed their child’s cuddles when September finally came around. 43% said that it was their child they missed the most, and 28% said it was the noise that created the silence. For me, it is all of them. All these things I miss when the children are at school. These are the things they are doing elsewhere, as I count down the hours until I see them again.
As part of their #PowerofSoft campaign, Fairy have made this video and I have to confess to being unable to watch it without a tear. These are the best days of your life after all.