February 1, 2013

Gone.

My baby was almost late to her first ever day at school because I couldn't get my mascara right. I don't usually wear mascara, but my eyes looked like I'd been crying all night (which was not surprising, because I had). And so I slathered it on, then got teary again, so the whole lot smeared. In the end, I left the house with grey-rimmed puffy eyes, which will look truly memorable in those First Day At School photos.

I didn't expect to have such a strong reaction to my youngest starting school. I was quite excited when my big boy and girl started Year K all those years ago. I was ridiculously proud, marveling at their uniforms, taking endless photos of them with their hats and bags. It felt like the start of a wonderful new chapter. There was no sense of loss, no sense of mourning, just fresh beginnings.

This time, though, this time it's my baby. My beautiful, precious girl. She was born when her siblings were already six and eight. Last year her brother started high school, and next year her sister will join him. They are growing up, moving forward with their lives. Every day I see them morphing from children into teenagers. Every day I am stunned by the passage of time. It rushes ahead, and they rush with it. It's magnificent and wonderful and incredibly quick.

But it's been okay, because I have had my youngest. The big kids could grow up but she would always be with me. She would always be cute. She would always want to snuggle. It would be okay because I would always have my baby. I couldn't even fathom my girl growing up.

Today my baby put on her uniform and shoes, hoisted her backpack onto her back, and walked into school. And it hurt. It hurt. I didn't want to let her go. I was careful to be positive and cheerful, but inside I was crying. I know it will be fine, I know she will have a fabulous day, but I'm just not ready to let her go.
Time, it goes so fast. And kids grow up. Even your babies. Even the ones you think will stay young forever.

In years to come, I'll look back on the pictures from today and laugh. There is my daughter, in her too-big dress and her perfect, shiny shoes. There is my husband, smiling broadly. There is our big girl, having run down from her classroom, proudly showing her sister around. And there is me, with my grey puffy eyes, clinging on to my baby with all I've got.

One day I'll laugh. But right now I'm still having a little weep. Until 3pm, when I pick her up, and she'll be my little girl again.

38 comments:

  1. I know how you feel, Kerri! My oldest leaves to go to boarding school on Sunday. Next year, it will be my baby and we'll be empty nesters. I can't even begin to imagine how that happened and I'm not 40 yet!

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  2. Thanks Kerri, I was actually holding it together pretty well till you posted this! You could have written this for me: my last of 4 started Prep on Tuesday, my gorgeous, snuggly, cute little baby girl - GONE!!!!! I still cannot believe! She won't even let me call her my baby anymore either - what is wrong with the world??? sniff. I've started talking to myself in the car, at least it doesn't make me feel as lonely.

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  3. I was the same - for my first two, it just seemed exciting. I was floored by how sad i felt when my youngest went off to school. Utterly floored. She is now in year 1 and rolling her eyes and all sorts of grown up things. But she still crawls onto my lap, and carts her unicorn around the house.

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  4. My oldest has only just started school for proper this year. She got all of a week's worth before the Christmas holidays. No sure how I'll feel come Monday when it's time to drop her off for the first day of the year!

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  5. Big hugs to you Kerri. Time goes way too fast when you don't want it to and slow when you do. Stupid time xx

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  6. my oldest started school today, luckily i could hold on to the tears until i left the classroom, my middle child is at pre school and i only have my 1 yr old at home, big hugs kerrie

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  7. Oh Kerri, hugs to you! My littlest guy started prep yesterday, and as proud of him as I am, I feel as if someone has punched a hole in my chest. His tender and kind primary school held a 'tea and tears' morning tea for mums and dads of the new preppies, where many, many parents sniffled the morning away...

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  8. Benita (MissBenben)February 1, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    My youngest started school this year. We also moved to a new town, so all three of my kids were "newbies". It was hard enough watching my littlest boy gingerly walk into his new classroom, not knowing a soul, not knowing where the toilets were or where his lunchbox went; watching all three having to go through this was heartbreaking. My only wish for them was that they found a friend quickly. They've done that, and I am so proud of all of them. I still run home from the school drop off and cry into my cup of coffee for about an hour though....


    Kerri you write so beautifully. This made me cry into my coffee even more....

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  9. This makes me sad and I only have a one year old! It also makes me want to have a whole army full of children so there is always one baby!

    Try to see the positives and I hope she has a lovely first day x

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  10. "Time, it goes so fast. And kids grow up. Even your babies." Noooooooooooooooo!!!! I know time is hooting along at a rate that is immeasurable by any real sense - but surely they'll always be our babies?! My youngest started year 11 this week and he's been coming home telling me about his subjects and his teachers. How is that even possible when it was only last week that I was watching him parade in an Old King Cole's outfit for his infants parade? Next you're going to tell me the 80's weren't 10 years ago.... They'll always be our babies - especially when they're asleep and can't stop you giving them a little kiss on their cheek while they're dreaming their dreams. Give all your babies extra cuddles this afternoon :) x

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  11. I daresay your baby is still cute and snuggly. My eldest started school this week and I'm excited and proud. It could well be different with the younger one.

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  12. WOW. But there'll be holidays, right??? Sending HUGS x

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  13. Oh! I dare say I'll be doing a lot of talking to myself in the car. And house. And supermarket...

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  14. Rolling her eyes? Oh no! I'm not ready for eye rolling yet! But happy for her to keep her unicorn (yes, we have one too...) x

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  15. Take tissues. That's all I can say x

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  16. Yup. I totally needed one of those. Instead, they just sent us parents off to weep alone... x

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  17. SO glad they all found friends. That is really wonderful. Sending love hon x

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  18. I kiss mine when they're asleep too! And I will when they're 60 (though their spouses might think it's weird). Thanks love x

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  19. I don't have kids, but I shed a tear reading this. I can feel the pain. Hugs to all missing their babies. Kerri, your writing never fails to make me laugh or cry! :)

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  20. well if u come to me at the register I will understand!!!!

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  21. Time passing too quick is the worst. Feels like I blink and 10 years have gone. x

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  22. Last night I hopped into bed with my Miss6, my baby who started school last year. We snuggled and she told me I was the best, cutest Mum in the Universe, then hugged me tight. I told her that one day she won't want me this close to her all the time, that when she's bigger she'll want to do things alone or with friends. "Aaaw, Mummy. If I forget, can you please remind me?" *Sniff*

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  23. I am going to be very emotional next year, my eldest starts high school and my youngest starts Kindergarten. Beautiful post. Hugs to you.

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  24. Kathy www.yinyangmother.comFebruary 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Hi Kerrie - I feel for you and remember that feeling from our daughter starting school. She is adopted and at that stage we only had the one child. Fortunately we've been able to adopt our son since, who is just about to turn three, so I have the 'baby starting school experience' to look forward to. Our daughter is now 9, just started Grade 4, but we had major angst the day before and she told me she felt 'empty'. I died of course. With a hug and a pep talk and a little bit of meditation we were able to get her ready for school, only to have a big drama on the morning. My husband is a firefighter and stuffed up in not getting someone to come in a little early to relieve him ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, leaving me stuck at home with the two kids and NO CAR afer he was called to not one, but two false alarm calls at the end of the shift. Upshot is Miss 9 had a major meltdown and had to miss the first day. But things are looking up now. Hope your tears have dried now too...kathy

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  25. You will start to enjoy all this time you have for projects, then before you know it, you are turning around and picking them back from school again and complaining that there isn't enough time in the day. Then you will find yourself running around with all the after school activities. A new journey for you all, enjoy xxx Rae

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  26. Agree. In another 5 minutes we'll be 80.

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  27. Luckily mine were paced. Last year eldest started high school, this year youngest started kindy, next year middle child starts high school. You're going to have a big year!

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  28. Oh NO! You poor things! Glad things are looking up now. How traumatic!

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  29. Thanks for your fantastic posts over this time of need (also known as the school holidays). I even thought that a 900km drive in 40 degree heat to take various throat virus victims to and from the in-laws was sane compared to theme parks.



    I also lose my last twinkie to the schooling maw tomorrow. Sad but glad.

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