Tuesday, January 22, 2008

a new era

He's going to school. My baby, my youngest child, my chubby, ever-questioning, dimple-smiled Ben is starting school next week. In his over-large shirt and his shorts almost reaching his ankles, he looks too small to be a schoolboy. He's five, though, and he's ready to fly the coop.

My friend Heather consoled me, "He's going to be fine. He'll love school!"

"I know!", I retorted mock-tetchily. "I'm not worried about him! It's ME who's upset .... don't you realise it's all about ME?!"

Ah, yes, of course," she replied, smiling. "How silly of me. Of course it's all about you."

I pouted dramatically for a moment, then laughed. Because I know it's pure selfishness to be sad about something that will be thrilling and interesting and challenging for my son. School will mean a growing sense of independence for him. He will learn to feel confident with all different types of people. Ben will learn to read and write, and the magical world of books and communication will open up to him. He will hear differing opinions, and begin to evaluate situations himself. It will be the start of his boyhood.

For me, it is a chapter of my life coming to a close. No longer will I be a mother of pre-schoolers; no more will I compare notes with my friends about the drudgery and delights of staying home with small children. I will be working another day as a GP. On my two days at home, I will go about the housework, and grocery shopping without interruption..... and although that probably seemed like bliss when the children were babies, the idea now strikes me as faintly sad.

Others who have gone through this same change of role assure me that within days I will be whooping with joy as I whizz about, unencumbered. They're probably right. I've always enjoyed my own company, and I have plenty of projects - both pleasurable and tedious - to occupy me. It's not that I need the company of a child in my day. It's just that I'll miss it.

So goodbye little Benjamin and hello there, schoolboy Ben! I'm sure your days will be filled with fun, in new and varied ways. I really am excited, and proud, and happy for you to be starting school next week.
I just might need a tissue when I get back to the car.


thisisme said...

Jelly, how exciting for Ben. And what a gorgeous photo too. I'm excited for Ben. What a change for you though. Just think how pleased you will be when he comes home from school.

freefalling said...

Toughen up, woman!
None of this girly crying stuff!
Much better to bottle it up and explode at an awkward moment!

Do you think you will still be blogging when he gets his first car, first girlfriend - when he gets married!!!
I'm making it worse, aren't I?

It must be really cool being a Mum.

Remiman said...

Transitions are always frought with the ambivalence of excitement and dread. I'll bet, that in his 5 y.o. way Ben is experiencing those same feelings.
My chil'n are all in solo flight now and I do enjoy watching them take on and excel in new challenges. But I miss watching them learn to ice skate, and ride a trike and progress to a bike. I miss their dressup at halloween. I miss first dates and in particulat their Proms. I'm lost without a school athletic event to go to and cheer.
I enjoy my free time to do what i want to do but I'd trade it back to have a chance to enjoy the serendipity of children. Ah! Now that's what grand kids are for, now isn't it. ;)
To Ben; Go and experience life, and share some of it with mom.

Susan said...

Ah, jelly, you have failed to state the obvious solution to your upcoming problem: have another little one!

I predict you will love your free time, and share with you this image for your refrigerator door.

Redneck Mommy said...

Such an exciting time for Ben! And you!

Give yourself a moment to miss your baby boy and then get ready for all the excitement school boy Ben will be bringing you with his adventures!

And really, you'll love having time alone. Promise.

mackeydoodle said...

I wnet through the same thing in Sept. when Kennedy started Grade 1.
My baby ar school all day? Nobody to watch Curious George with?
It felt a bit lonely for a few days but I adjusted. You will too.
Big ((((hugs)))) for you Jelly.

Heidi said...

I agree with redneck mommy. Take the time to miss him... of course, you need to do this... but he is going to be so cool as a school boy and he will change into such a wonderful little guy... because you are his mom.

Heather said...

It's still rough for me on some days to send Crash off to school. He seems so little, still, and so ill-equipped to be out there in the world without me for so many hours every day.

But he LOVES school and he is thriving! I have been so proud of that little guy this year.

Yes, you're allowed to be sad. I'll listen to you piss and moan any time you want. ;-)

But you ARE going to love the alone time. I promise. :-)

meggie said...

How quickly the years seem to pass.
I remember when my daughter started school. My last baby. Everyone told me how happy I would be. I went home & cried. I missed her a lot at first.
I think it is ok to have a little cry if you want to.
It is fun watching them learn though.

shellyC said...

i am sure I will feel the same next year when Luca goes to school. I am not in any rush for them ALL to be in fulltime school -so I will enjoy this year with one more at preschool.

Take some tissues I think you will need them. Actually I feel like I need them at the start of every school year anyway -"are they going to be OK" "will they like their teacher?" "Will they have friends in their class" etc etc etc

fifi said...

Oh, they provide tissues AND a crying room at our little primary.
My little baby is ten now. He still breaks my heart.

I really really really miss him being a little preschooler and I always will, he was so lovely. Now he's so smelly and loud, it's hard to recall.

ah, cry if you wanna. Go on.
By the way, school finishes MUCH earlier than preschool...

John Cowart said...

This sounds like a tough transition for you. I'm sorry.
But, believe me, you still have years of child care ahead before he reaches age 30 or so.
As the old saying goes, "Life begins when the last kid leaves for college and the dog dies".
There are good times ahead for you and Fatty.

Sharon said...

Yes...I know how you feel! It is a big transition. Especially when it's your youngest you're sending out the door.

It will all go well....it really will!

Hugs to you!

Kerri said...

That's a beautiful photo of your little 'mate' :)
In no time at all he'll be bringing home fascinating papers to display on the fridge, and just think of all the stories he'll have to tell! You'll love it, wait and see :)
My brother brought home swear words after his first day at school, and Mum washed his mouth out with soap :) He was outside playing with a hammer and bits of wood and he banged his thumb. That's when he let go with a few choice words...within earshot of Mum. Wish I'd been old enough to see that....lol.

Stomper Girl said...

Stop it!! I've still got a year to go and I'm panicking!

Anyway, that's what school holidays are for, to remind us how much bother it is to do day-to-day stuff with a couple of kids in tow, OVER the holidays?)

Good luck at school, little Ben. And Jellyhead, take the box of tissues with you, all the way into the school yard. Just in case.

Stomper Girl said...

I lost a bit of comment there! Should have [Can you tell that I am] in front of [OVER the holidays?]

Princess Banter said...

Awwwwwww how exciting! And the next thin you know, he'll be bringing a little girl friend home heehee!

But really, it must be hard. But do remember your own school days when it was the most terrifying thing to go through -- seeing other kids and a so-called teacher! Both of you are opening new chapters in your lives :) That's always a good thing :)

Puss-in-Boots said...

Of course you'll need a tissue and why not? It is sad to see our babies start school, but only for a small while, then we become proud mothers when they bring home their small achievements, when they gradually learn to read and write.

But, there is still that pang when we first wave them off to the big wide world, but of course, it's only the start of waving our children off, it carries on into adulthood and we always have a small tear...

Sandy said...

I needed lots of tissues and then I think the school principal felt so sorry for me that she offered me a job at the school.