Dear Finlee – 318 days ago we drove together for your first day of school. We both tried to talk about a variety of things, but we were both nervous about what your first day of school would be like. You were worried about Connor being there on time so you didn’t have to go into the classroom yourself and I was nervous about becoming a school mum for the first time. I was nervous about the school Daddy and I had chosen and if it would be the right fit, I was nervous you might not make friends, I was nervous about what your teacher would be like and what being a school mum would consist of. 318 days have passed since you started your first day of school and I’m proud to say we made it.
As I parked the car 318 days ago, grabbed your backpack and walked hand in hand to your classroom, with every step we took – you started to hold my hand a bit tighter. You talked less. And you popped your fingers in your mouth which is a sign you were super nervous. As we found your name at the backpack drop off area and made our way into your new classroom – you rocked it. You held your head up, greeted your teacher, found Connor and didn’t even shed a tear. I kissed you good-bye, reminded you to have a great day, whispered in your ear that I loved you soooooo much and it was as easy as that – you were now officially in school and you had entered another chapter in your life.
I walked back to the car and processed what had just happened. Things were changing, you were no longer a toddler, but rather a young man. My heart was heavy Finlee as I had mixed emotions. Where had 6 years gone? Where was my baby? Would you still hold my hand? Would you still need me? Would you still love me the same? You see Finlee, as your mum, I never stop worrying; it’s just I worry about different things depending on what chapter of life you’re in.
Becoming a School Mum
These 318 days have been such a learning curve for both of us and with so many firsts. Your first uniform, your first packed lunch, your first 100 days of school project, your first Mother’s Day school event, your first school dance, your first Father’s Day school event, your first report card, your first sleep over, your first lose tooth, your first award and I’m glad I’ve captured these memories in the Australian made school days memory book. I too had my firsts… my first school lunch to make, my first day meeting all the new mums and dads, my first school dance, my first school excursion, my first AFL training session and so many more firsts. All of the these things have made your first year in school wonderful. Filled with memories. Most importantly – assisted you to start building your foundation around education.
Benefits of Great Teachers
Fast forward 318 days… Today at your end of school year party – I was crying the minute your class started to sing your Christmas song and was bawling when we got to your part “5 Kangaroos….” When giving the thank-you speech to your teacher and teacher aide – I could hardly hold myself together. Why you ask? It’s simple… I’m thank-ful.
I’m thank-ful for your teacher and teacher aide. They have laid the foundation for your school years. They nurtured you and at the same time provided you with the tools to start building the foundation of your education. They were tough on you when needed, held you accountable for your actions, praised you for your kindness, but held you when you were sad. Your teacher and teacher aide need a medal as they rocked and I will forever be grateful to the both of them.
As I reflect on the last 318 days, what I’ve found Finlee – is you no longer need me for things that you needed 318 days ago, but you need me for different things. You may not hold my hand as often, or I may not be able to lift you and cradle you like I use to, but the conversations we’re having are full and meaningful. You’re becoming aware of the world around you. You’re using words like complicated, concentrating and advising me that I can use Wi-Fi if needed. In addition, you’ve not only physically changed by growing out of your shoes and catching up to me in height, but you’ve also grown emotionally and mentally. One thing to first time school mums that I need to pass on is acknowledge when your child needs a mental health day. I have learned there are significant benefits of wagging school and having a mental health day in kids and all parents should do this both for the child, but also the family unit as a whole.
So tomorrow is your last day of prep and I feel you’ve earned a rite of passage (marks the transition from one phase of life to another). All year, you have pleaded for me to allow you to buy a “dog slushie” otherwise known as a slush puppy from the school tuck shop as “all the big kids get to.” And all year, I’ve said no because a) I didn’t feel you needed all that sugar on a school day but b) it was my way of hanging onto you as my baby that little bit longer. So tomorrow I will give you $2.00 to purchase your first ever slush puppy from tuck shop and I will eagerly wait to hear how well it tasted when I pick you up from your last day of prep.
Love always and forever,