As uniforms are dusted off and book bags brandished once again for the start of a new term, Molly’s blogger Desperate Dad is reminded how he felt when his own boys started school for the first time. Memories of an incredible journey about to unfold…
This is your chance of a lifetime. The start of an incredible journey with adventures beyond the wildest of dreams.
A fresh start. A first step into the great unknown and the beginning of a new chapter. But this is not really your journey, you're merely an excited onlooker and it starts with waving your child off on their first day at primary school. Before now you've been caught up in the magic and mayhem of the preschool years.
The nappies and tears, the tantrums and exhaustion. Your child has never been far away from your parental tracking system gaze as you navigate your way through often rough but on the whole beautiful terrain. But it's all been building up to this moment and it's now that all mums and dads can finally relate to the lives of their children.
I don't really remember crawling for the first time or cutting my first tooth. I don't recall taking my first steps or my first few birthdays. But I do remember starting school and that fish-out of water feeling for the first time proper.
I was never going to be the parent at the gates who tearfully begrudged the start of school. I loved the preschool years with the baby babbling and the block building afternoons, but my boys starting school was an entirely new prospect.
Yes, the initial days can be touch and go, with a few 'daddy don't go' moments with tears in eyes (from them), but they soon settle down and look forward to going.
Partial intakes are the bane of the working parent but I understand now how important they are. They’re exhausted after just a few hours and it also gives the parents a chance to get used to this brave new world as well. When you walk into the classroom you’re hit by how instantly calming it is. Tables are set with activities, and toys are laid out in their relevant areas inviting wary youngsters to leave their parent's side.
The teachers speak quietly and politely and welcome the children as if they are their own. And if you’re lucky the class is small and the children have room to explore and even more importantly, to be heard. The only regret that’ll pang as you ruffle their hair and tell them ‘you’ll see
them later’ is the fact that you can't pull up a miniature chair to join them for the morning yourself.
But remember, this is not your journey...
You must dash off to work to apologise profusely to the boss and quietly curse the partial intake.
You are just the silent passenger who will marvel at the learnings and adventures you’ll be regaled with at the end of the day. But you’ll be back week in, week out to make sure they keep on journeying and the only tears worth shedding for the end of those baby years are those of bursting pride and excitement as they run in and out of the school gates with glee.