Back to school tomorrow and I’ve just put the kids to bed. The packed lunches are made, the bags packed and names written on things in indelible marker.
Boy One is becomes a high school pupil tomorrow. The first day of the next stage of his academic career. He says he’s looking forward to it, but none-stop talking for the past few days suggests he’s feeling a little anxious too.
We’ve made all the preparations we can. There have been numerous visits to school – on one occasion he and I even had lunch in the canteen.
Staff from the fabulous autistic unit at St Benedict’s in Linwood have made plans, discussed his need and gone far more than the extra mile. We’ve had meetings and assessments, phone calls and teaching sessions.
A new bag has been bought, trousers, shirts, scientific calculator and the Panther of News has patiently given tie-tying lessons.
He’s as ready as he’ll ever be…
I’m not though. I’ve been a study in not thinking about it for the past few weeks. Now I’m having a go at pulling myself together. I’m sure I wasn’t this bad when he started primary school.
Is it because high school is when you start to let your baby go off into the big bad world? Might be. At least at primary, I could probably have marched into school at any time and got him, indeed, on at least one occasion I did pick him up and carry him out. Not at high school though. I doubt I could even find him.
Perhaps because he’s going to meet challenges and situations I can’t really help him with? Might be that too. We’ve talked over getting lost, angry teachers, bullies, not liking French, whether or not there will be an origami club. But then I realise I can’t think of everything that needs to be discussed. Today he found me in the kitchen and asked: “Do I wear one of the polo shirts with my tie or one of the smart shirts?”
It didn’t even cross my mind that he wouldn’t know this. What else have I missed?
I tucked him in tonight and he said: “You won’t cry tomorrow mum, will you?”
“I’ll try not to.”
“No, you won’t. Promise. You won’t.”
“OK I promise.”
And I kissed him on the forehead as he snuggled down his head on the pillow next to the orange cuddly monkey he’s had since he was a baby.