As the New Year arrived, along with it came plenty of new beginnings. For some, it’s a new job, for others, perhaps a new home. For me, it’s my eldest son, Baker, embarking on his first year of formal education. And as with all new beginnings, emotions are bound to flow unexpectedly, just like they did as I was ordering olives at the deli counter, watching him jump around proudly wearing his new school hat that we’d just collected. Wasn’t he just born?
Kindy seemed to be a blip on my radar. I blinked and it was over. And now we are here. Big boy uniform, structured learning and rules, five days a week. As I sat in my chair at the parent welcome night, the counsellor shared some insights on what it would feel like for our little ones as they made this transition into a new community and what we could do to support them. We were given tips such as read to them in preparation, talk about the school values, chat about what their classroom may be like but above all, no matter how worried you are for them or sad yourself, DO NOT SHOW IT.
I have been a working Mum with Baker in childcare for a couple years, so we are well versed in daycare and the potential fallout for the morning drop off. Somedays they wave happily, not even bothering to look in your direction as they bid you farewell but others, they are clawing at your leg begging to come with you. There’s no rhyme or reason, just little people dealing with the prospect you may never return to get them, which is, kind of a big deal. Baker took the first term of Kindy to really settle in and the tears to stop when saying goodbye. I’m expecting the same for school. I know the drill, say goodbye confidently and as soon as you head for the door, don’t look back. I get it. But what I also get is that regardless of how big or small you are, new beginnings can be hard and scary and nerve wracking. We don’t need to diminish that.
When I went back to work after becoming a Mum, I still remember my first day. I’d carefully selected an outfit that I’d hoped would have me blend in. I didn’t pack lunch because I didn’t know where the fridges were or what the protocol was and I definitely wandered haphazardly into the cafe finding myself a table where I screen shot a picture of an empty stool and sent it to my husband with the caption ‘my lunch date’. I felt completely out of place while everything old bustled around me. My husband always takes his hard hat outside before he starts a new job, scuffs it up in the gravel and covers it in stickers to make it look like he’s not new. Safe to say, we all have ways of trying to survive the unknown that lies ahead.
For my son, whilst I’m more than happy to dust off my pom poms from my cheerleading days and be his number one fan as he tackles this new beginning, I’m also going to be the comforting arms that wrap around him and tell him that feeling overwhelmed is completely okay. Mummy and Daddy both feel the same when we start something new too. So whether it takes a week, a month, a term or a year, we will go slow, together, until he feels right at home amongst his new.