Tuesday 30 August 2016

A Big Day

Today was a big day in our house.   Smallest Boy donned a red jumper, grey trousers, shiny black shoes, snapped on an elastic tie, yanked a blue backpack decorated with moustaches onto his back and went to school.

I have been waiting for this day since the beginning of time.   At least that is what it felt like.   Out of my four boys, he stayed with me the longest.  He attended Montessori only when he “had to” which was last year as I felt to send him into Big School cold turkey would be an awful shock to his system.

And I enjoyed his company.  Immensely.    We get on very well together.   We gel.   He regularly tells me how much he loves me and if I am not in the same room, he will yell it out all the same.  

So when today rolled around I had a funny feeling in my tummy.  It was both a happy expectation and a dull sense of unease.

I could feel uncertainty rolling off Smallest Boy like waves on a beach.   I’m a great one for making mistakes.  I like to think it keeps me humble.   Keeps me grounded.   So having been around the First Day at School Block three times before, I thought I had this in the bag.

Janey, I thought Smallest Boy had this in the bag.

I allowed the fact that he has been “going” to school for the last five years and nearly five months to cloud how big a deal today really was for him.

Sure, he stood outside the school gate each morning and afternoon.  He knew inside “Múinteoir Stephanie’s” office as well as I did.  He knew all the múinteoirí.   All the múinteoirí knew him.  His brothers’ buddies have been greeting him by name forever.  He was known in there.

But that’s not the same as going as a student.

The wobbles last night were to be expected.  When he bumped himself on the trampoline and got upset, I put it down to sensitivity about the morning.   When he said he couldn’t sleep because he was “too hot,” “too not tired,” “too thirsty,” “too something” I knew trouble could be ahead.

And it was.  He became annoyed and frustrated at the obligatory school photos so we cut them short.   His daddy had words of advice and reassurance for him before we left the house and he was smiling when we got into the car.

On the drive into school, I kept the radio off so he could chat to me and ask me questions.   The first question was asked in a small voice.

“Will you bring me in today?”

My heart!  I can’t tell you.   This boy, who has been with me as I walked his brothers into their classroom for many many months until they were ready to do it alone, thought he was expected to do the same thing himself.

I reassured him that I would bring him in as long as he wanted me to.  Like I did for the others.

Another positive step when he ran from the car and to the gate by himself.   Nothing new.  He’s always done this.   He joined the “big boys” at the gate.  Nothing new there either.  He ran back and forth enjoying himself and chatting.

It was almost time to go in and then he said he wasn’t sure he would “get the hang of this day.”   I knew he meant he didn’t know what to expect.   

So I told him.  Again. 

How Múinteoir would take his books out of his bag and let everyone know when it’s snack time.  How it’s going to be like Montessori for days until everyone gets the hang of it.  How everyone is in the same boat today and no-one knows exactly what to do.

“I’ve got it now.  Thank you.” 

And in we went.   I thought I had covered everything.   But everything is different for everyone.   I thought I had learned that.  

It was a strange morning.  Stranger than I anticipated.   I went home and suddenly the house, the one that had been heaving with boy sounds for the summer, seemed louder than it ever did.   It was eerie.  I couldn’t figure it out. 

I realised the truth behind the expression, “the silence was deafening.”

Then it hit me.  

I missed them!  I missed my boys.   Hand on heart, it was something I never thought I’d feel or even admit.

I knew I would see them all in a matter of hours but it felt like days away.

Janey, I thought I had this one in the bag.  Like I said; I’m a great one for making mistakes.

It keeps me humble.  


  1. Oh Gwen, tears reading this. Their size makes us think they are big boys, but they are so small behind it all! I'm glad they were only wobbles, I'm sure the silence will become more quiet and everyone will adjust but for right now (((hugs)))

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. It's such a weird feeling but I believe it gets easier.