March 10, 2018 | Shez
It was 8:15 on Tuesday morning. Uniform on, hair done, bag packed, “Things I love” poster finished. Family photos taken. All four of us climbed into the car, Ross and I trying to keep things as chill as possible. My firstborn was starting his first day of school. No biggie.
We really had no idea how it was going to pan out. It was a real treat for Ross to be there as I wasn’t expecting it to be possible, but in hindsight I don’t know what I would have done without him.
We all waited a bit awkwardly at the Kindy gate until they unlocked it when the bell went. Walking up to his classroom, Harper was excited, though holding my hand tightly. I wasn’t even thinking about how I was feeling, I was too focused on what I could do and say to help my 3 and a half-year-old feel settled.
The couple of weeks leading up to that day were hard work. Harper is normally a pretty stable and reasonable kid, easy to work with and to be around (apart from the relentless talking and questions!). But he was ALL OVER the place, sooo emotional and dramatic, so fragile and clingy, so HYPER - just full-on. I’m also 37 weeks pregnant, so between hormones, waddling around like a very pregnant penguin, feeling like this baby is literally about to FALL OUT at any moment; I was wearing a bit thin some days!
We spent some time checking out all the awesome stuff in his classroom and doing activities together, it seemed like it was going to work out just fine. He was happy and saying “oh my goo-ness” everywhere he looked. Then the little bell rang. The lovely Mrs Wigley (only the sweetest and best Kindy teacher I could have ever picked for Harper) explained gently that it was time to have a big cuddle and say goodbye, and come and sit down on the mat.
Enter climax moment of the past 3 weeks.
Harper turned and literally BURIED himself in my chest, wrapped his little body around me and started silently sobbing. I’d never felt him cry like that before. He whimpered “I don’t want you to go” and then it all started properly flooding out. At that point I felt tears stream down my own face (which I wasn’t planning on by the way) and I scooped him up in my arms and took him to a quiet part of the room to give him by best pep talk. He started to calm down and I thought we were going to make it out the other side but when Ross came over to say goodbye, he started up again.
The EA came over to reassure him and encourage him to sit on the mat with the other kids, and then things really escalated. He just went deep into full freak-out mode which I hadn’t seen him do before, and after advice from the EA to leave sooner rather than later, I went over to give him one more hug and nearly got strangled. He was holding onto me for dear life, screaming “DON’T GOOOOOOOO!” almost as though he was seconds away from being abandoned and tortured. She kindly encouraged me to leave and shut the door behind me and literally had to pry him from around my neck. I turned to wave goodbye as I shut the door only to see my son with utter terror in his eyes, trying to escape the arms of the EA, all whilst screaming for me not to go.
As the three of us walked out to the gate, Eden lost it big time. They’ve rarely been apart and she did not know what was going on. So there we were, getting into the car, Eden and I both bawling our eyes out, saying goodbye to Ross who was off to work, knowing that Harper was inside his classroom screaming. It may sound dramatic (and it was) but it was one of the most painful moments I’ve had as a mum so far. I didn’t know how negative that experience was going to be for him, how many times we might have to do it again, whether or not I’d failed to prepare him for this next stage of life. I just didn’t know.
There are SO many firsts with your firstborn, aren’t there? And without the experience or hindsight to reassure you or give some perspective, some moments can be so big and overwhelming. Eden and I cried all the way home, and then some. However, picking him up from school that afternoon, I was greeted with an excited, happy boy who had REALLY enjoyed his first day and since then, has been very vocal about his love for school and even how “I love it when you go now mummy!” No more tears, no more fear – just joy. I’m couldn’t be more grateful.
And it got me thinking about how difficult change can be, not just for our little people, but for us too. The unknown realm of change can be destabilizing, it can rock us to our core. We’re creatures that often thrive in familiarity and predictability. Looking into a foggy future that we can’t quite make out can be frightening.
We’re on the brink of embarking on our next chapter – baby #3. When we look into the next few months it’s foggy, a little cloudy, it’s unknown. We had a hard time with a newborn Eden (see my post about Eden’s surgery) and I think Ross and I are both inhaling-exhaling as we try to prepare for whatever is on the other side. And there are moments that it feels scary, overwhelming, that we’re not ready. Change takes courage and sometimes that courage looks like falling apart a bit and embracing how crazy it all feels, and then getting up to keep going anyway. I’m reminding myself to go gently, to realise that it’s a season of stretching and growing, and that it’s ok to feel the growing pains of that.
Are you in a season of change? Are you beginning a new chapter that looks a bit foggy and unknown? Don’t forget to give yourself space to feel its significance and embrace those growing pains so you can truly grow.
But in all of our unknowns, we have a Father who is not unknown. He truly revealed Himself in the person of Jesus, in His perfect love for us while we were (are) still so broken before Him. His goodness is unquestionable, his kind intentions for us dependable, a firm foundation. His plans for us are freedom, life, joy and hope. Show me how to walk in them Lord.