Tuesday, 8 September 2009

See you in twelve years, or so Son

Four years, and six weeks after my wife died, our boy's formal education has commenced.

Commenced with aplomb.

We were ready. All the uniform was correctly labelled, we had the PE kit and reading bag organised, the school dinner menu was even appraised versus a packed lunch, and choices were made.

There was nothing left to do, but attend.

And that is the easy bit, right?

Well, I was worried, that is perhaps the wrong word, I was at least aware that today could be difficult for both of us.

Difficult for the boy as it is a change in surroundings, and also the end of our wonderful holidays.

Difficult for me, as it signals the end of a period in our lives that, however tragic, it has been my honour to play my part in.

Max was not overly excited, or overly anything this morning, he was very calm, relaxed, bellowing breakfast orders like he usually does.

The uniform was applied, and there was a shift in his excitement level, not a monumental one, but one I recognised. Recognised enough to know I had been wise to wait until we needed to go, before putting it on him - we would have been at the school gate ten minutes after putting it on, regardless of the time of day.

I took a deep breath, and set off on our shortish stroll to school.

The boy was carrying all his gear, he refused my assistance, further reducing my useful level.

We caught up with a couple of children making the same maiden walk, he waved, and we eventually caught up with them.

There were a few 'Doesn't-he-look-cute' and 'Are-you-OK's verbally thrown our way at the playground (I can let you surmise which was aimed at whom).

Then the whistle went, the children – mostly – stood still, and then started forming queues.

Max second in his, not overly keen, just calm, confident and not messing about.

I heard him check for me, when I dropped out of sight for a moment, but that was the only quiver I got from him today.

He got a smacker, and wandered in to class without further concern to my whereabouts.

I had anticipated I may cry at this point, but while emotional, I did not feel like sobbing, I just felt very proud of him, and in part, of myself.

I know I can be very self critical, which I think as an overall, serves me very well, but this morning, I felt warmed, and proud of a plan, now well executed in practise.

My day went well, I got a few jobs done, went out on my bike, and look like I have already picked up a biking partner from the village, to motivate me to actually keep to my re-build principles.

Picking up the boy was awesome.

The class comes out, line up with the teacher who then checks that there is someone to collect them, and they then get dismissed, generally one-by-one.

Max's turn came, and he ran across the playground, which seemed like in chariots-of-fire style slo-mo, before opening his arms for a ginormous hug.

That felt good, and his smile has never delighted me more.

I did not push him on his 'alright' day, but I did have to answer a few things, including 'what are we doing tomorrow?'

“Coming to school son.”

So I am not entirely sure he gets the enormity of the change, and how school works, so there will undoubtedly be some issues moving forward.

But move forward we shall, and treasure this day we will.