First Day Back at School
There are moments that catch me by surprise. Rare moments when out of nowhere my chain of thought is completely thrown of course and I’m stood, as if naked. Suddenly exposed. Suddenly put on trial. Suddenly judged. The judge, is me.
Miss 7 has been trying on clothes for tomorrow. Piecing together an outfit for her first day back at school. Exceptionally pleased with the uniform Grandma has sent from England.
She’s dancing, singing, posing. She’s in her own little world and everything’s perfect. She’s happy, confident and beautiful.
A wave of anxiety washes over me.
Am I nervous about her first day back? Am I compensating for her lack of concern?
All of a sudden, it’s me that’s about to walk into an exam.
Have I done my work this summer? Have I done what I should have done? Am I doing anything to help my creative, kind, loving little girl to get ahead in life?
Are they all ridiculous questions?
Get ahead. What is get ahead?
Is ‘get ahead’ understanding algebra, before they study algebra? Is it reading a novel before they’ve been introduced to chapter books? Is it about knowing all the answers? Is it speaking another language? Is it doing backflips and the splits? Or is it about having friends, and having time to spend with them? Is it about being happy? Is it about character?
What’s going to help her the most?
Which combination of the answers is the best?
Days, weeks and months go by of indecisiveness. Efforts hopping from one arena to the next. Then I wonder the price of inconsistency.
Well, here we go again. A new term. A new start; another of many.
It’s not a test.
So, we didn’t throw a ball around as much as we maybe should have and we’ve hardly read a book. But we hugged some of the worlds tallest trees. We’re researched 40 breeds of dogs. She learnt to swim. We lived in a desert!
I’m reminded of the certificate on our fridge. One she came home with on the last day of school. A prize for resilience, which I wasn’t quite sure how to react to. Is that a quality you need to get through a day of school? Does that strike you as a positive award to hand out?
This summer however, without a doubt, she has fine tuned resilience. Our lives and the course they are to take has shifted from one week to the next. The ability to bounce back, to recover, the elasticity of remaining grounded despite pulls in one direction and then another.
This summer has been richly filled with experiences; there’s nothing resembling failure in that. Tonight however, we’re going to read!
This ‘Big Tree’ is 92.6m (304 ft) high; 20.7m (68 ft) in diameter, and estimated to be 1500 years old.
…Now. What pictures should we take tomorrow morning?