In my hand he held my heart
Silently I was crying inside. But my son’s entourage was an unusually welcomed distraction, deflecting from the highly anticipated event, the first day of school.
No wonder my son looked slightly on edge, with so much build up. I think he was starting to believe that we were giving him away to the Missions. It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve said goodbye, but for some reason, this one magnifies that this is the first of many to come.
We all know the stories, but when it’s your own story, it’s raw. And I felt alone.
Well, I would have if my over-the-top, noisy, Italian, and brash father-in-law had allowed me to lament in the moment. But no, he was a running commentator on the day’s event and how my emotions were stacking up. My mother was adding some realism, years of experience as a school teacher; my husband was nonchalant; my mother-in-law was reminded of her boy starting school, but was on a strict warning not to cry, so she looked like she’d sucked a few lemons, straining to hold it together. The circus ensued with the little brother pleading to join the big one. And after a few poses for Facebook, show’s over, and it’s time for school.
In his hand, he held my heart. And we walked on.
I was more nervous than he. Schools do that to you. He hardly spoke, but I knew he was assessing the situation. He does this. And all I wish, is that his teachers get to know him like I do. I haven’t totally lost my sense of reason, he’s still a five year old. I’d have thrown him through the doors when he was two, when the thought of Boarding School didn’t seem so bad, but not today. He is perfect and I won’t be told otherwise.
In my state of delusion, we made it through the grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and the flash photography. But I saw no one. So consumed by holding his hand and steering him through. There may have been tears and tantrums but we walked silently on.
My nerves grew. I wanted the transition to pass seamlessly. Because you see, I thought he was starting next week and today wasn’t the day for my son to realise that his mother’s still looking for the parent handbook.
My fly by the seat of your pants approach suits me, but my son needs everything just so. I had to step up and make him as proud of me as I am of him. Ok I got off to a bumpy start, wrong class. Though, I was sure it was that one. The relief when I found his peg and hung up his jacket. If I could have ripped the thing off the wall, I think I would have. I was raw.
Never have I felt so happy yet so sad. I wanted to bottle it.
But there were no tears. I wouldn’t do that to him, I had the rest of the afternoon after all.
And as I’d expected he turned and I let him go. To make new friends, have good days and bad days, dreams and disappointments, and to start making stories of his own.