Going to high school: Don’t cry mummy

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.


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  1. Debbie says

    Good luck to Boy One. And to his mum … wear the waterproof mascara and stay brave until he can't see you. xxx

  2. says


    How beautifully written! My boy's going there too – and as you might know just got his cast off his broken arm last Friday. They don't bandage them now..he's just left looking quite normal, but it's his left arm, and yes he's left handed. All day I've tried not to fuss…but I just can't help wanting to be there to protect him – and I know I can't. I have to let go…it's just SO hard. I had been blocking it out I suppose until finally sitting down tonight and reading your post. Now my tears flow…tomorrow, I'll find that smile and reassuring nod as he leaves for school, I guess drawing strength that I'm not alone…you and many others will be letting go too.
    Thanks for the post :)

  3. says

    I think it's way scarier for us – I definitely couldn't separate my memories of starting big school from my expectations for my children. Much to their annoyance I might add! Be thankful for catchment areas, the rarity of placing requests and moving up with pockets of familiarity – I shudder when I read what some children go through down south when they fail to get into school after school of their choice, with their friends.

  4. says

    Debbie, thanks – I was very brave.

    Oh Mammy, if you'd seen his wee pale face,

    PHM, Good luck in September,

    Anita, I hope your boy got on fine, mine came home delighted with his day.

    Nikkii, That's true, we at least have that.

    Thanks Sarah.

  5. says

    Is that what I have to look forward to? My eyes are starting to tear up because my boy starts preschool on Monday. Please let us know how the first day turned out.

  6. says

    CJ, Thanks v much.

    Dvr Dame, Mostly it's just fine. In fact, within three days Boy One has got a bit of his swagger back. He's particularly excited about doing science in proper labs.

  7. says

    Oh bless him, what a sweet boy. I don't think I will manage to be so brave when my time comes to pack my girls off to secondary school. Thanks for taking part in the carnival :)

  8. says

    Oh what a lovely post! We're not quite at that age/stage yet but I can imagine the mix of excitement and nerves. I had better practice not crying now so I'm ready!

  9. says

    That is so lovely. And how did it go? I took my youngest to school today and he looked so smart with his new haircut and new shoes. I did get to take him into the classroom though. Am I going to have to go through all this again when they go to secondary school?

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