Twenty years ago this year, I was in my final year of high school. This morning I dropped my first-born off for his first day of grade 1. I didn’t expect to cry, but there you go; those mother-emotions catching you completely off-guard! I am still crying as I sit here typing.
I found myself getting very angry (I would have liked to have said uncharacteristically angry, but sadly it seems to be my default emotion when I find myself in a slight panic) with the husband for not remembering (despite direct instructions to do so!) to tell the teacher ahead of time that we do not call our son by his first given name, but rather by his second name. In retrospect this was a stupid thing to do and I probably did not endear myself to the new teacher by the combative manner in which I pointed out to her that we don’t call him by the logic-dictated name. I felt a rising anger with his preschool teacher who seemed to think he was ready for “big school”, because although I believed it until yesterday, I am not all that sure today.
I know we all went through it, and most made it out alive, but how many of us can say that we made it through twelve years of school unscathed? Personally, I looked very much forward to my first day of grade 1, and hated every subsequent day of school. For the next twelve years of my life I hated it. Hated it. I didn’t do badly at school and no-one would have known, but still, while I know a lot of people who long back to their school years, I can unequivocally state that I do not miss one single day of it. But today wasn’t about me as such, although one will always experience anything through one’s own framework of reference.
My little boy was not excited to go to school. Throughout the December he tried to avoid the topic as much as possible. This morning he was nearly hysterical at the thought of having to go to school. Once seated in his new strange class, among new strange non-friends, he was not happy. He was trying to be so brave while choking back the tears. He was plain scared and for the umpteenth time in his life so far, I felt so very helpless. I, supposed to be his protector and strength, could do nothing to help him today, nothing to comfort him. I feels wrong. All our little babes dressed up the same in their uniforms, preparing them to be “institutionalised” and forced into the misshapen mold of modern society, “for their own good”. Just so they may have a chance of surviving this cruel messed-up world of our making.
I hope that he will find new friends. I hope that he will be happy and enjoy learning. I hope that he is not as scared as I am today, because he is as yet oblivious to exactly what lies ahead…It seems grim, but it is just how I feel today…