This is my second go at one of my children starting school. I should be a pro. Only it’s different. Like every single bit of parenting nothing that we did with the eldest works with with youngest. Nothing with no.1 has served as any kind of preparation with no.2.
When I sent the eldest off to school it was safe in the knowledge that we were about to begin the prep for adopting a second. There was of course all the ‘my wee girl is so big’ sentimentality but no finality. I was excited for her starting her education and thrilled about the prospect of a wee bit of time for myself before we did it all over again with no.2.
This time I am eviscerated. Both of my girls are at school. The loss of my status as a mother of small children pains me.
We have decided, me reluctantly, that our family is complete. So my youngest starting school marks an end. An end that I am in no way ready for or welcoming.
My eyes were opened by my eldest starting school. I know how fast they mature and change from here on in. The independence that comes from nowhere and leaves me redundant. Monday to Friday now belongs to the routine. It leaves little time for life and none for the spontaneity which for us meant joy.
The youngest is in her element. Happy in her new role. Ravenously hungry for the challenges, opportunities and adventures heading her way.
The eldest is delighted that her younger sister is imprisoned as she is. Hopeful that school has a civilising effect, taming the wee wildling from tormenting her every waking hour.
And me? Well I’m papering over the cracks. Only really admitting how I feel on paper. Smiling and pretending that I’m thrilled with uninterrupted hot coffees, all the extra time I’ll have.
Only I don’t want extra time, well not this much. Yes it will be wonderful to not have to try and squeeze work into such constrained times. To be able to pick up a book or a pen in the middle of the day before the exhaustion sets in once they are finally in bed. It’s just that the house is empty, the living room too tidy and all this quiet is oppressive.
Once again I’m marvelling at the agonies of parenting. Do it right and you give them all the tools, skills and ability to leave you bereft and broken with the ache of missing them.