My little boy became a little less little this month, and his mama became just a little less required; pre-school has begun. Wow! It’s been in the diary for a while now, the dates confirmed, the settling in days agreed and the milestone fast approaching, and then arriving. It was, ergo, with a little hand in mine, that we walked through our village and crossed the threshold, of next steps, together.
In the weeks before his first day, we spent lots of time chatting about this new adventure; what he should expect, how he might feel and how he’s starting to become the big boy he’s, already, so desperate to be. Sam hasn’t experienced a nursery environment and, although he does a church crèche every week, hasn’t fully understood yet that he and his mama won’t always do everything together. It’s a big learning curve, for both of us, and one I’ve been keen to encourage and handle well.
Like all mothers, I absolutely want the best for my child and, despite having had many years to think about our family, and home-life situation, nothing had ever really been decided, pre-Sam, with regard to his day-to-day care. Staying at home wasn’t necessarily something I’d always planned to do; it’s more something we fell in to with infertility, commuting and getting our pup, contributing to the decision.
And who knows if it’s the right one or not for Sam? He’s a super little chap, who is happy and able, but I don’t doubt he’d have flourished too, had he encountered a different start to his childhood; I’m absolutely not here to pass judgement on what families decide to do. It does, however, somewhat surprisingly, feel as though it’s been the right choice for me. The fear I initially experienced, as I handed in my notice after maternity leave, has now turned to confidence and, where I was scared that I would lose sight of self, identity and independence, I have, instead, thrived.
Of course, there have been days when I’ve questioned that decision to stay at home. Days when I felt I needed more, or that Sam should have more, days when I’ve sat down utterly exhausted, and cried, thinking that I just cannot do this. I’ve, repeatedly, questioned whether it’s the right decision for my child, regularly asking myself if he’s being stimulated adequately and whether I, as his teacher, can offer enough for my son.
Yet we’ve muddled along. Learning and growing together, creating a little team to find our own way through these early years, with me developing the self belief to know that, in spite of the bad days, I am doing a good job. But, that’s why, thirty months later, this really is rather a huge, and exciting, landmark for us!
We never really know how our children are going to turn out, how we’ll raise them or what we’ll say, and do. Sure, we’ve all got ideas, but, as I’ve said previously, they’re possibly not always suited to the child we’ve been given or to the parent we’ve become; mine certainly haven’t all come to fruition! And, as much as I’ve been aware, since the day he was born, that he will evolve and cease to need me, in the same way, throughout his life, this inaugural pre-school visit really did hit it home that my boy is growing up.
And how wonderful and amazing that is.
Yes, naturally, there was that tug on my heartstrings, as I watched him run off to play without looking back, knowing that he was taking his first, official steps away from me, and towards independence. But it also made me feel incredibly grateful to be a mother; to experience a love, so strong, that any sadness I might have felt, at watching him walk away, was overshadowed by happiness and joy that he is blossoming and is becoming an autonomous little being.
Just as he should.
And so he goes, off on his little path to big boyhood leaving me with the, decadent, dilemma of what to do with my new found freedom, of… three hours each week! Yes, three whole hours! Let the wild times commence! There’s been talk of starting to run again, of having more time to clean the house and even take up ironing! However, for the first few weeks, I do think that the novelty of having a warm cup of tea and a sit down at home whilst, obviously, looking at photos and videos of my little miracle, might outweigh the need to don trainers or discover if, in fact, we even own an ironing board!
I do, however, know that I’ll miss him, my little buddy, my chum, but this is his journey, his big happening, and I am so happy for, and so proud of, my little boy, who’s not quite so little any more.