Life

First school day tears... not from my child, but from me

Suzanne's son Toby embarked on his first day of school, with a few tears... from his mum

AN American reporter was last month interviewing children as they were about to take their first steps into school.

``Will you miss your mum,'' she asked innocently.

One little boy quickly responded, 'no' before beginning to laugh nervously. Seconds later he burst into tears.

The news reporter posted the clip online and wrote: "This breaks my heart and now I'm anxious about sending my kids to school. He was trying to be so brave."

The first day of school can be a hard time for any child to face - there can be tears, nerves and clingy goodbyes.

But quite often it is the mums who can be worse than the child.

My youngest son officially embarked on his school career last week, taking his first steps on a momentous journey, another big milestone in his three short years here on earth.

With a broad smile, a smart new uniform and his little Paddington school bag, he stood at our front door all set for his first day.

I sat in the hall with my camera poised, looking down the lens at my little boy who seemed to have grown up right before my eyes. And although I beamed with pride, I secretly wiped away a tear.

You see, I fit the exact profile of one of those mothers surveyed who were more likely to cry at the school gate than their offspring.

As thousands of little children skip through the doors of school for the first time this month, many of their parents will be taken by surprise as they are overtaken by unexpected feelings of loss.

The transition from home to classroom can be as traumatic for the parent as it is for the child.

The poll revealed that mums are five times more likely than their little one to cry when arriving at school for the first time.

More than half felt 'overwhelmingly emotional' when dropping their kid off at school and three quarters said they felt it was the end of an era.

Nearly half of parents pine for their child's company and a third even miss the constant background noise they have become used to.

Then there's the 'how did you grow up so fast' remark, with seven in 10 parents feeling that their child had grown up too quickly.

This is absolutely me to a tee.

Here was my youngest son all set for his first day at nursery school.

I walked him to the classroom and with a forced smile, waved him goodbye as he vanished into the unknown and I sneaked away before he could see my tears beginning to fall.

Those first few days at nursery made me stop, think and savour some of those beautiful times over the past three years.

It made me recall those big moments in my son's life beginning with the day we brought him home from hospital to be greeted by his two excited big brothers.

Or the day when we helped him blow out the candles of his Mickey Mouse inspired 1st birthday cake. Or the day when he rode his bike for the first time.

Seeing your child in their first school uniform is a milestone for parents - a moment when your baby has grown-up. It makes you realise how fast the early years have flown by.

Perhaps I should have spent less time worrying about the household chores or that night's dinner. But I know we had fun and for much of the time, we lived in that moment.

Time slips away far too quickly and I know I can't be there to hold my son's hand for every step he takes in life. But here he is - beginning this big adventure and I should feel proud that I got him here.

It's a journey I hope will bring him success, learning, enjoyment but most of all - happiness. And it's one I will watch over with immense pride, and maybe sometimes a little tear in my eye.

Life

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