Such a big day for every family. The first day of School. Almost since the day IK was born I have imagined what that day would feel like, watching her walk into school in her uniform. Some times I have wanted it to come quickly, usually on the days she has driven me slightly crazy, other times I have wanted to slow time down and keep her little and at home safely with me.
After applying almost a year ago and months of build up with leaving nursery, taster days at school and uniform buying, the day finally dawned. I watched my little girl dress herself in her uniform, so far from that small baby who was dressed in white baby grows, helpless and tiny. I brushed her long blond hair and tied it up, so far from the crazy mop of dark hair she was born with that smelt like baby shampoo and powder. I watcher her, walking hand in hand with her sister, down the street to her first day at school, in some ways so grown up, so ready for this big step and yet, still so much my little baby.
This day was so far away from what I had been imagining for the first three and a half years of IK's life. I had always thought we could go as a family, her Dad with us, hand in hand, sharing the pride of our daughter growing up, remembering the baby she was, wondering at the young woman she would grow into. The reality was different; it was just us three, braving another new adventure together. Her Dad was not there, he had completely missed this special moment in our little girl's life. It can never be re captured, but it is not the first important time he has missed and it wont be the last. I wondered how both girls would feel looking back on their childhood and realising their Dad missed so many things. This is one of the hardest things to for me to come to terms with as a single parent. If we had both tired harder, would our girls be having a happier childhood, or was this outcome inevitable? Did his sudden departure merely save us from a few unhappy years before we eventually called time on our marriage? It’s a question I know there will never be an answer to. So I have to comfort myself that over a year on from our separation, both girls have adjusted to our new life and seem happy and content.
So I left IK in the classroom, looking slightly apprehensive but sitting ready to start this journey with the other children in her class. When I picked her up later she emerged with her usual happiness and seemed totally un phased by the big step she had taken. The funny thing about the first day of school was it is only the beginning. I had focused so much on the first day I had forgotten that she would be going every day! The world of the school run, packed lunches and homework will now dominate our lives for many years to come, but for now I am just pleased she has settled in so well