He’s delighted, more excited than I’ve ever seen him. Ready, in fact, to go off and catch the school bus alone, should I let him (not likely…).
I’m… OK with it. I doubt very much that I’ll be one of the mums–in–tears. I’m not sure my emotional state even allows for that level of sensitivity, or I’d be a mess every single freaking day.
But there’s certainly something poignant and bittersweet and happy–sad about it. I’m so infinitely proud of my mature, kind, practical, sensible, inquisitive little boy.
The First Day of Big School rushed in quickly after seeming to dawdle for months, frustrating both myself and my son with how very far away it seemed. And now that its here, I’m slightly terrified by the reality of it. How did this happen so quickly? Why did it take me until now to realize that this is it– he will no longer have me to shepherd him through treacherous social situations. And it’s the social side that scares me… he’s just a baby, really.
And, of course, he’s my baby.
So I worry. Have I taught him enough…? In all that time that I was living in my own scorching, repeating reality; did I talk enough, show him love and affection…?
I know the answer to that is– I didn’t. And I’ve no doubt that made him tougher, made him grow up faster than he should have. But whether it led to a crumbling, spongy self esteem on the inside… I’m never sure.
And the best I can do about it is make up for lost time. Tell him, now a hundred times a day that I love him, I adore him, that he’s awesome. And cross my fingers that I’ve taught him enough, in terms of what he’ll need for now, going out into the Big Wide World without me, five days a week, six hours a day, without the close supervision of daycare and the familiarity that exists there.
I hope I be taught him to speak up when he needs to, to make himself be heard if its important. I hope I’ve taught him to use good manners as his default setting, to show other people he respects them without having to say it out loud. I hope I’ve taught him to be kind and friendly, to see the funny side of things. I hope I’ve taught that some people are just not nice, and its best to ignore them as much as you can. And I hope I’ve taught to deal with those situations that eventuate, that will always eventuate– the ones where everyone else is making Fathers Day cards. The times other kids tease him with “You don’t have a dad”. (”You do have a dad…” I tell him and his sister, after he revealed it to me one afternoon, months ago. “You do have a dad. But he died and he’s in Heaven. He would be here, if he could be, and he loves you very much.”)
And, of course… it’s that one that scares me most.
And that’s the over–riding feeling here. It’s not missing Tony, wishing he was here. I used to imagine how sad I’d be, without Tony here to watch our little boy begin his Real, Big Adult Life for the first time. But there is part of me– that deep, simmering anger that’s still pissed off, mostly on my children’s behalf, at my husband for leaving– that is rejoicing, tuning cartwheels of happiness at having this day, my son’s First Day of Big School, as my own. Because I’ve done this, over the last two years– the awesome little person he is, is mainly due to my influence.
I just hope that its been influence enough. Because when it does up, his dad and the simple fact that he’s not here anymore, I want my little boy to have the answers and emotional armor and ammunition he’s going to need to deal with it.
Fingers, well and truly crossed. And only time will tell.