So, my boy, you are starting school.
The time has come.
Too fast. But here nonetheless.
My last baby on your next adventure.
The first big chapter that you’ll do alone.
When I see all the little ones in their too-big uniforms looking like they are playing dress up, I won’t be the only parent on the school playground gulping back a tear.
As the new reception class run around in circles with friends, acquired through pre-school play dates and nursery classes, I know that lump in my throat will be huge.
When I see all the shiny new shoes and empty book bags ready to be filled with worksheets and wondrous knowledge, I think my head might implode with emotion.
As the bell goes and there is a collective inhale as all the parents get ready to say that last goodbye, I might feel the urge to run.
When your brother and sister cast uncertain glances at the swarm of small arrivals on their way to their own line-ups, I know with certainty that a tiny part of my heart will break forever.
Because, my love, you won’t be entering through those doors with the rest.
Those children who you played beside as babies in playgroup won’t remember your name.
You don’t get to wear the same school clothes as your siblings.
To pose as a threesome for first time outside the school gates at the top of our road.
There was no shiny new school shoes, no uniform that even fits.
I don’t get to walk you into your first classroom and kiss you goodbye.
This year there will be no phonics to learn, no dancing as a twinkly star in the school Nativity.
The class bear won’t be coming home prompting a random Tuesday night trip to the park.
I won’t hear your thoughts on the school dinners.
Or smile as you say “I can’t remember” when I ask about your day.
It will be a bittersweet year as that newest class remind me of all that could of been.
Moments when I’ll long that amid their ranks skipped one more boy named Gabe.
So, my angel, you are starting school.
And that is amazing.
We are still going to mark, cherish and celebrate this important day.
We’ll still get to kiss goodbye, but at our door before you are loaded on to your school bus.
You’ll have to travel for 40 minutes to arrive at the specialist setting, but we were so incredibly lucky to get you a place there.
You don’t need new shoes as you have your trusty Piedro boots.
And you’ll still look like a superstar in your new red tops and dark track suit bottoms (and hopefully the uniform will fit next year).
You might not yet be tackling phonic snakes and ladders, but you’ll be busy with hydrotherapy, your drama studio, noise dome, sensory garden and soft play area.
Best of all your friends will be waiting for you. Friends you’ve made and bonded with in the last 18 months. Friends just like you. Brothers in arms. Facing different battles with beaming smiles and endless giggles.
So you are starting school.
And we are excited.
We’ve high hopes – we know you are going to flourish and thrive.
There is no apprehension because we already know that you love it there.
They say children need two gifts from their parents – one is roots, the other is wings.
Well, my little boy, we’ve done lots of planting. Now it’s time for you to fly.
You are starting school.
So soar high little one.
And when you stumble
Soar even higher.
Because mummy and daddy are right here.
And we’ll break every fall.*