So the little girl I’ve done all this writing about over the last few years starts school tomorrow. Every parent says it . . . it’s mandatory at this stage in their little life . . . “WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?” She has taken it in her stride and seems infinitely thrilled by the fact that there are chickens at her school for the reception class to look after. She likes her uniform. She knows she has to go everyday, and she is excited about making new friends as she won’t know any other children. . . so I guess it’s just me doing all the worrying then.
The thing is – I know I won’t be one of the parents sobbing at the school gate, or even feeling tearful about the fact she is starting school. I am anxious, of course I am, about too many things to list. But I am also excited for her because she is SO ready for this. That little sponge of a brain is working at a rate I have found increasingly harder to saturate. She questions everything. She is frustrated that she cannot read properly. She challenges ab-so-lut-ly every action or instruction and puts across some pretty convincing arguments. Here’s a conversation we had as accurately as I can remember it after a car had to slam on it’s brakes for her and I almost had heart failure:
“Grace do NOT run off from Mummy, especially on a car park!”
“Well where can I run off from you then?”
“No-where Grace. Do NOT run off from Mummy.”
“But I can run off from Daddy . . . or Grandma?”
“No. In fact, you can’t run off from any grown-ups.”
Pause. I can almost hear the cogs whirring away in that little head.
“Can I run off from strangers? Because they are grown-ups!”
“Oh . . . er . . . yes, ok. You can run off from strangers.”
“Can I run off from a grown-up if they are starting a race and I am running in the race?”
. . . and so it goes on.
Grace wakes up and talks/sings/asks things/shouts/plays/talks/laughs/talks some more. She does not stop until her head hits the pillow at night. She is wonderfully exhausting . . . her behaviour and her glorious stubbornness has at times been hard to parent, but my goodness, these are no bad qualities to have in life. It is, after all, the people that DO question the status quo and challenge authority that seem to make a difference in this world.
She feels things so deeply too – that is one thing I sometimes wish I could change. Not only a sponge for soaking up new information it would seem, but a sponge for other’s emotions too, and especially mine. If things could wash over her a little more easily, I guess I could worry less about her feeling things so keenly, but that’s just Grace. I know only too well that over thinking can be the biggest enemy of a happy state of mind. I’m guilty of it myself, although I am learning as I get older to calm my thoughts and tell myself to shut the hell up. I hope Grace can learn to use her very deep thinking for positive things, and learn sooner than I did how and when to switch it off.
She loves to make her friends and peers laugh with a funny face or a silly dance and she usually succeeds. She is very knowledgeable about animals, nature, and loves dinosaurs and princesses in equal measure. She has a very strong attachment to an inflatable sit-on cow. She loves the Mr Bean animations and copies the dance at the beginning of every episode. She is very competitive. She thinks it’s funny to repeat everything we say when we tell her off. She says the word “easily” a lot and has a thing about the number 14.
I love the stage she is at now and I will miss it as she gets older – Our bond is strong and she wants to be with me constantly. I know fine well that whilst there are times that I just desperately need time to myslef – there will also be a time when I am not her world. (Far from it, judging by a lot of teenagers opinion of their mothers!) So yes – I appreciate so much the awesome, loving, fiesty little person she is now, probably more than any age that has preceded. And yes, I am looking forward to see the girl and eventually woman she will become.
But I won’t be crying at the school gates. Because the pride and excitement I will feel will overcome any hankering for the baby she was. I will carry some sadness with me tomorrow, but more for the people who I can’t share this milestone with. My Mum would just be bursting with pride.
But if you spend all your time looking back, you will miss what’s going on right under you nose. And sometimes – it’s really good.
I am SO proud of you my beautiful girl . . . go knock’em dead, kid xxx