The day has finally arrived, Joseph’s last day at nursery school. We have the six weeks summer holiday and then my little baby boy is going to “big boy” school.
I didn’t know how I was going to feel on this day. Although in general Joseph has enjoyed his time at nursery we’ve had our ups and downs and I know he is not particularly upset to be leaving. He is very excited about starting at “big boy” school and he’s enjoyed his induction days there.
So I didn’t really expect to be that emotional about him leaving nursery. But as I dropped him off for his last day this morning I could feel the emotions swelling up inside me, tears pushing the back of my eyes and my cheeks getting hot.
I realise it is not the leaving of nursery that is causing this sudden uprising of emotion, but what it represents.
It signifies the end of an era. My one and only child has gone from scrumptious new born, to inquisitive baby, rambunctious toddler to precocious pre-schooler. All of these phases, though different in and of themselves, are the stages of a baby.
A little baby boy that was dependant completely on his mummy and daddy. Although he went to nursery 10-15 hours a week, the rest of the time he was at home with me, in our little nest protected from the outside world.
For the past few weeks, with the realisation that Joe will be heading off to school, my ovaries have started giving me a nudge, my hormones swirling around like crazy pushing me to procreate again.
But I know that having another baby is not the answer. It’s not what is right for us as a family for a multitude of reasons and I know deep down it is just the fear of the unknown, the fear of leaving this known, safe, baby stage of life that is causing these thoughts.
Leaving nursery signifies the end of that stage. He will no longer be my baby. He is officially a big boy, a child. A small child I know, and of course he will still be dependant on us for many years, but this signifies his first step into real independence.
I know as long as me and Rob are alive we will be there for him to help him through life, but now he will have to navigate the world of school with its structures and stresses, triumphs and challenges alone, I cannot be there to hold his hand.
And the sadness comes from knowing that he does not need me to be there to hold it. He wants to venture out there into the unknown. He wants to be a big boy, he doesn’t want to be a baby anymore. He doesn’t want anyone or anything to hold him back.
Underneath the sadness of letting go of my baby, there is immense pride at the big boy he has turned into. He hasn’t had it easy in some respects, what with the rigours of dealing with cystic fibrosis and all its trappings, and his other struggles with food and anxiety.
But despite and on top of this he has done all the things that other babies have done, reached milestones, played and laughed and drove me crazy. He’s grown into an amazing, charming, clever, funny and self possessed little man who’s ready to take on the world.
And so I shall not be sad that my baby has gone, and that the baby stage of my parenting life has passed. I shall look forward, like Joseph does, with excited eyes and embrace this new phase of our lives, I’m ready to say goodbye to nursery just like Joe is.
I’m ready to let go of my baby’s hand, just a little bit, so he can be free to grow into the big boy he is destined to be.