Why I will probably always cry on your first day of school

January 21, 2016

Dear Max

Yesterday you started grade one, and much like every school start day, there were tears. From me. In fact, on most significant school days (graduation, plays, sports) I’m left with tear-soaked cheeks, snotty tissues and a gratitude for waterproof mascara because there’s something so pride-worthy and contentment-building about seeing your child happy, active, progressive and learning.

So why do I still get emotional when you start school, you might ask? Well, it’s a variety of things. Firstly, it’s the realisation that you’re growing up. And yes, I’m aware of this daily, but there’s nothing like moving to a new grade, with a new set of rules/standards/expectations, plus a need for more sophisticated stationery, that this truth is out there. You growing up is not a bad thing; it’s a wonderful thing. Rather, there’s sentimentality, introspection and looking backwards and forwards when you acknowledge how fast things are progressing, and how quickly things flutter by, unlikely to be grasped at again.

Seeing you in a slightly-too-big uniform, at a real desk for the first time, and with a new teacher who I’ve never seen before, reminds me how vulnerable you are, and how little I can do to watch over you during school, or protect you from everything. It’s not my job to do it, nor is it my wish to enwrap you in a mommy bubble. And trying to stop whatever you need to face in life and school is not only unrealistic, but damaging to your growth.

My head can say all of this, but my heart tells another story. I ache that you might be bullied, that you might not get a maths sum right, that you’ll fumble over an answer, that you’ll leave your homework at home (or that the dog really will eat it since you have dogs that view paper as another meal), or that you’ll feel lonely. My head says that this is the way of life, that we all survive it, but my heart feels that I never want you to hurt.

Another reason I get weepy (in the good way) on the first day is because of my happiness and excitement about your future and your learning. Here is a place that will hopefully teach you what is needed, and it thrills me that you’re in a place that is in some way a starting block to wherever you see your finish, and beginning.

I am so happy for you that you’re in a good place, that you’re so excited to learn, and that you chose to sit right at the front of the class (even after I pointed out the back was just as good). May your primary-school years be as bright as your spirit, as sharp as your new pencils, as shiny as your new school shoes, and as sweet as the treats you’re only allowed to bring in to school on Fridays!

I love you my grade one dude,



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1 Comment

  • cat@jugglingact

    Beautiful post Tanya! All the best for the school career

    January 21, 2016 at 11:07 am Reply
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