School Days

There’s nothing that marks the passing of time more than the start of the new school year. Mothers everywhere crying softly in their cars having deposited their baby for the first day at pre-school, big-school, high-school. Doing our usual mother-worrying “will they be alright”, “will they find someone to play with”, “will they get lost” … and so we go on … we’ve got hundreds just like this … you name a problem we can imagine our child experiencing it. Usually we picture  every disaster scenario possible occurring before recess. Of course the worst doesn’t happen they survive, we survive, the world keeps turning.

It seems just yesterday I was attempting to walk Hippie Child into school for her first day,

“I’m OK, you can go, see you later”,

“No I’ve got to walk you in”,


“Because that’s what mum’s do, I NEED TO BE THERE, do you know where the toilet is? What will you do if you need to go to the toilet?”

“I’ll ask the teacher where it is and then I’ll go. See ya.”

Princess Child slightly more nervous but just as eager, after all she’s the second child, her life’s work is to catch up to her big sister, so getting to big school had been a goal for a while.

Now here we are one entering the final year at Primary School the other about to start Year 9.

Good lord Hippie Child only has four more years left at school. Then, because she’s a kid in a regional area, she’ll be gone, off to pursue her dreams. Only four more years left to get this right, fix any of our stuff-ups, make sure she is capable of surviving out there in the big wide world without me. WITHOUT ME.  What if she needs to go to the toilet?

We nurture and nourish, discipline and direct, then we have to let our work be free and hope that we did a good enough job. We let them go into the hands of others, into places where they are no longer the centre of the universe, where they must adapt, fit-in. There will be difficult days, there will be exceptional days and there will be a million and one ordinary days were “nuffin'” happens.

Meanwhile, we’ll wait, consigned a little bit further to the edge of their lives with each passing year. We’ll pick up the pieces on the difficult days, we’ll celebrate the exceptional and we’ll get them through the ordinary ones. Then we’ll turn around and the house will be quiet – we’ll wonder where the time went – but we will bask in the glow that we got through it – and they turned out not too bad.


6 thoughts on “School Days

  1. i understand, janine. i hope you took good care of yourself today. as a teacher, i see the other side – the joy, the busy-ness, and experiments, the hard work that children do in school. my job is a calling.

    now, let me understand – in australia the school year starts late january and goes until when? we start late august and go through may. joy and blessings to you all.

    • Our year starts at the end of January and goes until mid-December. It’s divided into 4 terms (each lasts 9 – 11 weeks) with 2 weeks holiday between each term (then the 6 week break over Christmas).

  2. Sweet post. Poignant, as we all fee when our chicks leave the nest. My dad said that when I started school in kindergarten the years hit warp speed. How right he was. xo

  3. Well I mean, once she does (years from now) leave, that’s when all the phone calls start – “wait, so how long can I go without washing the bath towels”, “what was that thing that you used to put in the macaroni and cheese”, “can I put these in the dryer”, “what was the name of that place we went to in 5th grade again” … I think I talked to my parents more after I left than while I was home some weeks.

    • Oh yeah – it’s all coming back to me now – endless phone calls to my mother after I moved to Sydney at 18 with just those sort of questions – particularly the recipes (maybe we all get homesick and start cooking our mother’s food to make ourselves feel better). So I have got something to look forward to after all.

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