Why do we cry when our kids start school?

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Why do we cry when our kids start school?

By Genevieve Quigley

Article from Mother & Baby Magazine

My eldest child, Ivory, is about to start school. Even as a type this I can feel the tears spring to my eyes. Why? I don’t exactly know…

Ever since she entered her last year of preschool, I’ve been an emotional mess every time I think of her starting ‘big school’. For a while, I had to take detours to avoid driving past her future primary school to stop me getting dangerously bleary-eyed behind the wheel.

As we progressed through 2009 and came closer to the end of her preschool years, things got worse.

Primary schools are very well organised these days and ours offers four ‘transition’ days to get our kids ready for school. When we arrived for the very first session, I got all choked up just upon seeing the older children playing in the yard. Hearing my whimpers, my husband whispered to me, “Just ignore them.” I took his advice, but when we were greeted cheerily by two adorable prefects at the gate, I huffed back at him, “It’s bloody impossible when they talk to you!”

By the fourth session, I was able to walk into the school grounds without reaching for a tissue. It was then that I realised my daughter was going to be fine all along. It was me who was getting the most out of this transition program.

Just when I felt I was recovering from my big-school breakdown, we had to buy Ivory’s school uniform. Knowing I would turn into a blubbering mess, I didn’t even take her along for a fitting. I grab a few uniforms in her size and figured we would try them on in the safety of our own home.

That afternoon, she was busting to get into her new uniform. Thankfully, she was too busy admiring herself in the mirror to even notice my sniffs. Then just last week, we got the finishing touches by buying her school shoes. As soon as she put them on it transformed her into a school girl. Yes, cue more discreet sobs from me.

But this is where I get confused because I can’t really say why I feel upset. Or even if ‘upset’ is the way I feel. In so many ways, I’m excited for Ivory to be launching into her school years. I loved school and I know she will feel the same way. She has shown no signs of apprehension, so I’m not feeling sad or anxious for her.

I guess it just feels like it was only yesterday that I first brought her home from hospital and we began our journeys together — hers in life and mine in motherhood. We’ve had many ups and downs in these past five years but when I look back in this first chapter of her life it’s with heart-bursting joy and pride.

Maybe that’s what gets me all choked up — the realisation that the first chapter is over. And I’ve loved it so, so much. Still, I know there are plenty more adventures in this story yet to come.

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