Olivia and William, I wanted to write you a back to school letter to mark the dawn of this new school year.
You awoke this morning tired, your bodies not used to waking at the call of an alarm.
You’ve had 6 weeks of ‘flexible’ bedtimes and endless opportunities to sleep until your bodies felt ready to tackle the day.
But today, today it’s time to don those freshly pressed uniforms again. To fasten your growing yet still petite feet into those smart black shoes, grab your necessary bags and coats and head out of the door to school.
It’s a back to school routine we all know well: after all, you are now in Year 4 and 2 respectively. Despite this, there is an air of unfamiliarity about today. We’re simply out of practice after six weeks away.
The start of a new school year.
You’re not happy about the wake-up call I’ve given you, I can see that etched onto your faces. But you follow my instructions without too many protestations. You eat your breakfast, drink your juice and get dressed.
And my, you look delectable. I know I’m biased, but as I watch you standing in your uniforms for the obligatory back to school photo, it feels like my heart could burst out of my chest.
I feel a brief stab of guilt that I wasn’t able to take time off from my job to be at home with you during the last 6 weeks. The moment soon passes though; that’s the nature of being a working parent. Anyway, today isn’t about me, it’s about you. Both of you.
You’re both growing so fast, it sometimes takes my breath away. You’re becoming more independent with every passing year; heck, with every passing school term. I couldn’t be prouder of the people you are slowly becoming.
Olivia, I see how you crave more independence now that you’re getting older. I hope you feel that I’m giving that to you, albeit slowly. From walking by yourself to the end of the road to post a letter to spending one whole week with your ‘long distance’ grandparents, away from me and your dad, but with your brother for company. It’s something I want to encourage in you while at the same time feeling terrified about this increasing freedom.
William, I know you see your sister being given more responsibility and you desire something similar. It will come eventually, but the time is not now. You are still only 6 years old and still very much my baby. I know you feel so grown-up, but there is still so much for you to learn. Be patient, my little one.
I hope this new school year heralds exciting things for both you. It feels, as it always does, like a new start. Excitingly, it’s yours to enjoy and control.
It’s another school year. Another opportunity to do things your way. And I know you’ll both do great.