So it seems I may be writing again, no promises! This is my ‘therapy’ I guess- a place to get out some of what I feel…
Who would have thought that this tough cookie would have such a rough time with sending Hamzah off to school…definitely not me!
In my experience, sending my first son Isa to school was vastly different to sending the second. At the time Isa was about to start grade one, we had a lot going on. I had given birth to our daughter one week prior to school starting. I had ensured all aspects of school readiness were done before I went off to hospital. I was excited, this was a huge step, a new milestone that was achieved, and I looked forward to the year. I had my parents and younger sister here on his first day of school- so he was left at his classroom by an entourage. I remember still being in pain from my caesarean section, but making sure I went to school that morning. My sister sat holding my six day old baby girl in the car while I walked, slightly hunched over, from the car park to his class. I stayed for a bit and took a few pictures. I recall a lump in my throat, but there were no actual tears- why would there be?? We were about to start a new adventure!
My blog has been inspired greatly by Hamzah’s antics as a toddler- he was and still is my most independent, entertaining, spontaneous and unpredictable child. Hamzah started playschool at two and half years old. Yeah, very early I know! He was an alert child who I unfortunately could not keep up with in terms of need for stimulation. He also begged us daily to go school, as he was already speaking fairly fluently at that time. I remember leaving him at school on his first day, there were no tears from either of us. He walked straight in and onto the playground without any hesitation, and said to the children, “Hello, my name is Hamzah.” I recall his teacher telling me that she had never seen a child settle in so easily and Hamzah grew to have a very close bond with her as he was the ‘baby’ in his class. On his first outing (a game drive) he curled up on her lap and fell asleep safely in her arms on the drive back to school. I will always be grateful that he had received such love from her. Since his very first day, Hamzah had always loved going to school.
I began to notice last year that for some reason I was finding difficult to acknowledge Hamzah’s true age – I am not entirely sure why, but over the last few days I have given it much thought. You see, I have an idea in my mind regarding the type of mother I think I am, and clingy isn’t an attribute I would add to that mental image. So why was sending him off to grade one so different to sending Isa?? I mean my whole plan is to grow these boys to be independent, mindful individuals who confidently make meaningful contributions to their world in some form or another. Well let’s just say I’m starting to rethink the whole ‘independent’ part of my growth plan.
Last year on Hamzah’s sixth birthday I found myself in tears being comforted by his teacher – this of course raised warning bells in my head… this was a joyous occasion, and crying on a birthday was completely foreign to me, but there I was, all ‘snot en trane’ (snots and tears) and I wondered what was going on. Being busy and always having something or the other to attend to- I brushed the incident aside and blamed my hormones for betraying me…
A few weeks later, there was an incident at school that resulted in me being called in at pick time for a quick chat with Hamzah’s teacher- I will have to blog that incident later!
It was then relayed to me that my child had possibly gained knowledge of the ‘birds and the bees’ and that perhaps I should talk to him about it. I sat there in complete horror! Well I was standing in horror, and then requested a chair as I needed to sit down to absorb what I was being told.
I was assured that this is completely normal and it was not a big thing, ( err WHAT??!!) Naturally, being the mother I am, I said to his teacher that I’m sure she was mistaken, as Hamzah has no knowledge on this topic. She explained to me the incident that had occurred and I stopped for a few moments to consider it, but still disagreed with her, insisting that it did not relate directly to him having this type of information. My reasoning being, that he was only six! And that he had only just turned six a few weeks ago, so technically he was still five, and my five year old most definitely had no knowledge of any of this. The teacher giggled, and fortunately knows me very well, so she seemed to over look the absurdity of my explanation, placed her hand on mine, and said, “He knows.” She then went on to say she fully understands that being conservative in this regard, (in the sense that I haven’t openly explained the reproductive system to either of my boys) makes this a little difficult for me to acknowledge. A little?! She hugged me and rubbed my back and sent me (still in shock) on my way…
Being full time at school for the last term of 2016 meant that I didn’t have much time to digest that Hamzah was going off to grade one. I purchased uniforms quite robotically and did not fit them on. Perhaps it was my fear of the feelings I would feel seeing him in his little bush uniform, in any case it was way too busy to during the holidays for me to bother about that. We did a fitting a few days before school started and I was absolutely fine. We had had a wonderful and busy holiday leaving little or no time to talk about the fact that my baby boy was going off to big school. I spent the last two days before school labeling both boys stationery and making sure their bags and boxes were ready.
The day before school started I had a strange feeling; I went in to school to drop off his stationery box and other required items so as to make the first day of school a little easier for all of us. And began to feel waves of emotion walking in. I bumped into Hamzah’s Grade One teacher and as she asked if we were all ready, I mentioned that I wasn’t finding this very easy, or rather, I was finding the whole Hamzah goes to school thing surprisingly difficult! I humorously asked if there was a possibility of keeping a child for another year in Grade R due to his mother not being ready to let him go…
That evening, as I lay out both boys school uniforms many tears were shed. The following morning, Hamzah and Isa were full of smiles; we took pictures and got on our way. But as I reached to take his little school bag out of the car, it all hit me once again. I shared this on my facebook page:
This morning was a surprisingly difficult one, one I didn’t expect to have. Everyone was OK until we got to the car park and that’s when it began. The sad face, teary eyes which turned to crying, the hanging on, tightly gripped hands, dragging of feet, edging reluctantly to the classroom… And then, heartbreakingly, and grinning as he did since he’s woken up, he wriggled his tiny hand out of my tight grip, peeled himself off from my hanging on, and walked in happily. I kneeled down and wiped away My tears that had been falling from the car park, I hugged him until HE let go first, he was smiling confidently, my heart sank, it was time, I continued to drag my feet as I’d done from the car, still edging, reluctantly to the classroom door, with knots in my tummy, it’s time for me to…. Let go… #mumsfirstdayofgrade1
These were my babies- and Hamzah was my baby-baby for the longest time- and perhaps – like most mothers reading this- my heart and mind simply have not caught up with reality just yet.
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