Originally published for Petite Bebe blog
That elusive date far, far in the distance from that moment when I first held my little, pink, scrunchy bundle suddenly became closer until it took me completely by surprise by actually arriving! My baby started school this year!
It’s something I was excited about because it’s such a milestone and I remember primary school being lovely (high school was a whole other story) so she fed off my excitement even though I’m not sure she actually knew what to expect.
We are very lucky to be in the catchment area of an incredibly lovely school with small classes, beautiful agriculture and a wonderful history so I wasn’t as bereft that first day as I might have been. Then in the afternoon when I saw that ear to ear smile and glowing face, I felt really good about this big change in our lives!
But on day 4, I didn’t see that face. I saw my baby take a momentary glance from the ground to give me a wave before looking back at her feet again. I asked her what was wrong and she said “No one wanted to play with me at lunch!” OUCH!! The words went right through me and I said “So what did you do?” She looked down at the floor again and said “I walked around like this!” (see “Sad walk” from Arrested Development).
OMG… That killed me! It was the one thing I had worried about but not on DAY 4! Yes, I knew the one imperfection about school for my little lady, who would otherwise enjoy the structure and the learning, would be the inevitable social woes but I thought that would be in the many years to come not on the first week!
I spoke to a friend who told me that that should never happen at our particular school and told me what was in place to ensure it didn’t. I spoke to the teacher and despite my best efforts, I cried. She also advised of their processes and how she would manage it and it was comforting but it still didn’t take away that hurt and when it again manifested itself in my daughter breaking down later that evening boy did it all just hit home. Another 13 years of this… and the mean girls were only just finding their feet!
Could I home-school? SHOULD I have home-schooled? Is it me? Have I not gotten in with the in crowd (story of my life!)… What do I do to make sure my daughter doesn’t feel like this again?
Because, of course, I know what it feels like. It never goes away, does it? Those awful feelings come back to the surface like it was just yesterday that you were handed a letter saying “You’re no longer allowed to sit with us because we don’t like you!”
That’s what happens to us as parents, isn’t it? We are sort of going through the journey of childhood all over again and sometimes we are more aware of that than other times.
So I continued to reassure her that I was there and available for a cuddle when she needs it as she took the hurts of the day out on me. Finally, she allowed herself into my lap where she curled up, tears streaming down her little face as I cuddled her tighter and tighter. I stroked her hair as the tears silently streamed down MY face with the raw pain of it all and the reality that it wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last time I couldn’t shield her from the hurts of the world.