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Back to School 2021

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

If you've been reading this blog a while, you know that I love the beginning of the school year. I love school, generally. I was a student for so long that school years mean more to me than calendar years. I set my goals for the school year; it's my unit of measurement.

This year started on Monday. We spent a lot of time planning and preparing for Monday. Because, you see, this year my baby started going to secondary school. We've had endless emails about uniforms and rules, and timetables. We've had Zoom calls with and without children, the headteacher, various staff, and the form tutor. We've read guidebooks and rulebooks and we registered and logged into about fifteen different things.

And yet, a bit like becoming a parent, this is something you can't quite prepare for. Yesterday was the first "real" day, and he went on the shuttle all on his own to and from school. He lost his map and his blazer (which is mandatory, luckily we have two) and nearly missed the shuttle back. So, despite all of the preparations, he's going to have a bumpy week trying to locate his things on top of navigating a campus he doesn't know with a lot of people he doesn't know (yet).

What I wasn't prepared for is how much I worry about him. Because I don't collect him from school, I can't help him look for his blazer. I can't pop in and peek into his locker to make sure it's organised. OK, I could do that, but it's a terrible idea. I want to let him get along on his own, but it's hard.

And I start thinking about him being a teenager. About him becoming more and more separate from us, from me. About how now, right now, and much too soon, my job has become to let him go. Sure, it's a long process, and it'll take years until he doesn't need me at all. To be fair, I still need my mom sometimes. But this long process is starting now. Today. Everything until now—walking alone to the neighbourhood school, going to sleepovers with friends, doing his homework in his room—was just a rehearsal. And the next few years are all a rehearsal for the real deal, for when he leaves home for college or a backpacking trip.

It occurred to me that I use the "logistics anxiety" as a tool. My logistics anxiety is me worrying about their uniforms, about their pencil cases being organised, about their homework being done on time. It's a curtain, masking the real anxiety. The anxiety about me sending my precious babies out into this cruel wide world. Me worrying about them getting eaten, or, worse, being alone.

And possibly, based on the stream of tears, it's also masking my anxiety about me being alone.


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"He doesn't need me at all", No, that will never happen...


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