5 November 2013

When They're All You've Got.

Yesterday marked the end of an era, that by which eight and a half years of being a full time, stay at home mum to two young boys has come to a close.  The littlest started full time school.

Initially, we hoped that this would occur last September, however it wasn't possible to admit him into the same one as his brother, so much prevaricating has occurred instead - we are out of its catchment area.

The place offered to him nearby presented a logistical scenario that Houdini himself wouldn't manage so he stayed at his local, lovely and wonderful Montessori nursery where he would get plenty of individual, child led attention and continue to thrive. 

There was nothing wrong with this - it's never been anything shorter than excellent.  The teaching and nurturing are second to none and I was perfectly happy with the decision to keep him on there until a space either came up or something else workable could be achieved.

But all his friends had left.  He was the big boy - a perfect opportunity for him to not be the littlest, as he is in the family - and discovering his gentle consideration for those much younger than him has been a worthwhile joy for us all, but watching him with them one day made me realise:

He was ready to move on.

Would I ever be?  Did I want to keep him little for ever?  Would he ever let me, anyhow?

No, no and no, but you can't blame a woman for trying when they're virtually all you've got, can you?

Having kicked out his father when six months pregnant with him, and his brother was just four, younger than he is now, it's been the team of the three of us since, and it has been hard.  How I survived those early days with a young baby and child alone, Heaven only knows.  Sometimes it was simply too scary to go to sleep, afraid of the frequent disturbances which would inevitably come, knowing that morning and the eldest's school run would arrive before I could possibly believe it, that when I cleaned my teeth it would feel like I had only just done them and hadn't actually been to bed, yet the day would begin.

I would shake with fatigue, but plaster on a brave face - eye make up and lippy - and go out into the world.  Occasionally he'd still be in his babygrow, but I didn't care.  He was warm and loved and we'd take the second breakfast that he still wants out with us.

It was difficult to face going straight home. We always went for a cuppa somewhere - sometimes with others, sometimes just us and he has always been fantastic company - funny and so lively he occasionally alienated other mothers, but I wouldn't change a thing - apart from when the eldest had to be rushed to the Eye hospital because of it and perhaps when he nearly killed me with a badminton racquet recently - but those accidents are probably down to me being too soft on him because he's such a charmer.

Ever the Comedian!
His first morning, he entered his classroom, jumping like a rabbit, making all his new peers laugh. He has been excited about this new start since we decided on it just a couple of weeks ago.  And that's it.  It's over.  We made it.

This is in no small part due to a few fine girlfriends who have stepped in, when circumstances or illness - the boys' or mine - have finally broken me and you all know who you are, thank you ladies.  We're lucky to have you.

As bereft as it'll make me to no longer be lunching with Batman or playing playdough with Iron Man and not to be being regularly wrestled by a mini John Cena to boot, because the little man who insisted on wearing superhero suits now embraces his school uniform equally enthusiastically (Phew!), there is an enormous sense of pride that permeates our home right now.

But just as I was managing to hold it all together, accomplishing the letting go, being less clingy and feeling too frightened to, this was played on the radio and it all came undone.  

Although it was written for a girl, inspired by the seven year old daughter of Abba's Bjorn and Agnetha, for one of their Albums, it is featured in the film Mamma Mia and the sentiments, sung so movingly by Meryl Streep, truly say it all.  If you have children and they're growing up a tad too quickly for your liking, you might join me in bawling at this.

Go on, show me some solidarity!  'School bag in hand....' she sings.... *Passes tissues.*