So this was the week that my son started primary school. I mention this in conversation to people, and they all have a strangely similar reaction: a hand on my arm, head on one side, an “ahhhh” to accompany it. I was a little perturbed by this at first. Had I mistakenly told them that I had run over a kitten? That my faithful dog Fido had died swallowing a hedgehog? Nah. Because everyone thinks that starting school is a Big Thing.
Well, it probably was a Big Thing. But that was before the school ran several settling in sessions, and E’s new teachers visited his nursery, and the nursery took the kids on the walk to school, and we talked about starting school, and then he saw my ham-fisted attempts at taking up numerous pairs of grey trousers. So by the first day of school, it became utterly not a Big Thing. Well, not for most of the kids, anyway. And certainly not for me. In fact, I was so not bothered, I begin to wonder if I really qualified as a bone fide mother at all. I mean, sure, it was nice to see him in his uniform. But it was just a slightly-too-large-because-I-want to-get-my-money’s-worth white shirt and a pair of grey shorts, with clumpy unattractive black shoes to complete the ensemble. I prefer his Dangermouse tee shirt, to be honest. He looks a little less nerdy in it.
There were a scattering of wobbly bottom lips and teary eyes from the mums in the playground, but I was more concerned about hot-footing it home to try and squeeze the day’s work into the next two and a bit hours, before I had to pick him up again. It’s less like a school day, more like a quick visit for a leisurely snack with just enough time to daub a few splodges of paint onto a bit of paper.
As the kids eventually filed into the classroom, I gave E a wave and a smile. Am I supposed to not feel this bothered?
“Oh,” said a mum who stood next to me. “It’s awful.”
“I know. By the time I get home, it’ll be time to come back again.”
“No, I mean, my little one starting school. It’s like my heart has been ripped out.”
Oh yes, now I get it. The heart ripped out thing. That. I guess that’s what I should be feeling. Hmmm. Bollocks to that. I’ll put it on my to-do list just below my VAT return, tidying me desk and picking the fluff out of my keyboard. I’m sure I’ll get round to it eventually.