How did we get here so fast?

How did we get here so fast, single mum, single mom, starting school, single mother, single mother survival guide

How did we get here so fast?

When my daughter was two weeks old, I watched a documentary about a young Australian man who tried to smuggle drugs through Singapore airport to make a few bucks so he could help his twin brother out of a financial rut. He was subsequently sentenced to death. 

I remember after watching it I sat in the bath cradling my tiny, sweet, innocent newborn baby in my arms, and I cried, and cried. Blame it on the hormones, or who knows, but all I could think about was that mother’s grief. I felt it. It was so real. And then I started to panic. I was terrified I’d forget to teach my daughter something crucial – like never ever smuggle drugs or you may be sentenced to death by firing squad. I worried for the world that she would grow up in, about all the bad things happening in the world, and all the bad people who might try to hurt her. I felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer enormousness of responsibility that I held in my arms. I just wanted to protect her forever. I held her close to me, and I hugged her. 

Yesterday (four and a half years since that day in the bath), I took my daughter to her school orientation because next year she is starting school. 

After we met the little girl in year 5 who will be her buddy next year, we walked hand in hand into the school hall. We watched a few speeches and performances, and then off she skipped with her buddy to spend some time in the classroom. The parents stayed in the hall to listen to more speeches and to chat with each other. As I sat, I unsuccessfully tried to fight back the tears. I apologised to the poor woman sitting next to me. I was sure she thought I was a complete fruit loop when I started crying, until I noticed she was doing the same. I’m going to be unable to hold it together next year on her first day at school 😭 

There is a lot of school readiness going on in these last few months of the year. It’s a huge talking point at day care. Day care excursions to big school are happening this month, school readiness programs are well under way, lunch box practice is about to commence,  uniforms are getting ordered, and her day care graduation is next month. How did we get here so fast?

People always say it goes fast, but it wasn’t really until yesterday that it hit me. She’s not a baby anymore, she’s not even a toddler anymore. She’s a little girl, who is approaching five years old, about to embark on 13 years of schooling. My heart! 

I’m so excited for her, and for all the adventures she’s going to have, and for what she’s going to learn. I’m excited for the friends she’s going to make, some of of which (if she’s as lucky as I was) will become life long friends. I’m excited for all the fun experiences she’ll have, and the memories that will be made. 

But I’m also terrified. I’m terrified of all the lessons she’s going to have to learn the hard way (even though I know these are necessary to grow as a person, and to learn things like resilience and emotional intelligence). I’m terrified that she’ll suffer, or that her feelings will be hurt. Life can be hard, school can be tough at times, and kids can be mean. I feel like I’ve managed to protect her quite well for the last 4.5 years. But come February 1st, my little bird is going to leave the nest, spread her wings and start to fly. 

But you know what? She’ll fall lots of times, but I’ll be there to pick her back up again. I’ll be there to wipe her tears and hold her tight. I’ll be there to help guide her resilience. I’ll be there to teach her about positive mindset, and what a positive impact it can have on her life. And I’ll also be there to teach her about not smuggling drugs. 

And when she has her first day at school next year, I won’t be the only mum crying at the school gate. We’re all in this together, after all.

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