04 Sep And so, the school years begin
One of our biggest reasons for moving back into town was that neither D or I could bear the thought of keeping up with our current schedule of working until 2 am, just to wake at 5:30 to get the boys up and ready for school so that we could make the 45-minute drive, drop them off, drive home, start work, and then leave in 2 hours to go and fetch them again.
Axl starts grade RR next year and while it isn’t technically compulsory, I had made up my mind that if we weren’t going to travel, it was time for him to go to school. He was ready; we knew it, and so did he – he asked us every day about school, wanted to go learn and play and was so excited about the different open days we had attended.
With our lease coming to an end in September, we started looking at potential homes and found a rental 2 minutes away from a very good private school that I had set my heart on for both boys. While it had always been a dream for our boys to attend the same primary school that their great-grandparents, grandparents and dad had attended, they were declined enrolment at the feeder pre-school because we lived out of town at the time of our application (January). Go figure.
But that’s okay because everything happens for a reason, and that’s certainly true in this case.
After we had moved, and the dust had somewhat settled, I arranged a tour of the school and was beyond happy with everything we were shown. Most of all, the boys BOTH loved the environment and Axl was begging to get started. Upon enrolment – for January – we were asked to bring Axl in for an assessment day, where he’d spend a normal school day with children his own age.
We woke him up early, got him dressed, packed his lunch; a cheese sandwich with no crusts, a triangle of Melrose, fruit sticks and Cheddars. We jumped in the car, drove the 2-minute commute and before we could even say goodbye, he was waving goodbye and ready to make friends.
My heart was finally at peace.
You see, as a mom, you ALWAYS feel like you’re not doing enough, and the guilt can very easily consume you. Well, that’s how I feel, anyway. I always thought I would be the mom who would craft up cool projects with my kids, I’d spend hours reading to them under a tree in the park, we’d have teddy bear picnics, play soccer on the beach and take down unsuspecting victims with our water bazookas. I so badly wanted to be the Pinterest mom who always seemed to have her ish together. But honestly, I am far from it.
I am selfish.
I sacrifice time with my kids so that I can juggle my job, build my own business and create content for my blog. I trade building forts for messy hair buns, empty coffee cups, and replying to emails. I hardly ever brush my hair before 12 and struggle to turn off from work, even when I am not in front of the computer. It’s not an easy sacrifice, and I try my best to find some sort of balance, but I KNOW that I fall short in many aspects. I KNOW I am not the mom that I wanted to be, and I KNOW that they deserve so much more; so, I am going to work my ass off to give them that.
The first time Axl went to school last year, I honestly thought that we had broken him and that we’d never really recover from the experience, but seeing my kid run off so confidently a year later reaffirmed that he knows exactly who he is and was ready to explore the world.
What I have realized is that I was looking at this all wrong. Children WILL learn the days of the week, how to add and subtract and how to read – whether they’re 2 years old or 8 years old, it WILL happen. But never ever underestimate how much they benefit from knowing that you will always be there for them, that you’ll wipe their tears on the tough days, and give the loudest cheer on the good ones. That the love and encouragement you pour into them now, will give them the confidence to become the person who they are destined to be, and that knowing they can come home to find comfort and reassurance in your arms – no matter how old or big they may be – is exactly what every child needs.
None of us are perfect. I look at my parents, who are the first to admit that they could have and should have done things differently. But even now as a 24-year old mom, I know that I can sob into my mom’s chest and she’ll know exactly when to comfort me and when to push me. My dad, Lu, has helped me through teenage heartbreak, picked me up from parties when I didn’t feel comfortable, and can simplify just about anything. My gran, who is an incredible force in my life; a source of strength, guidance and always so reasonable, makes me feel like a child through her love for affection and constant need to take care of those around her. My dad, Mark, who might have not been there for the hard days growing up, proves that it’s never too late to show up and that even when you’re not too sure what to do… a little bit of love, kindness and time, is all a kid really wants – even when they’re a parent themselves.
Axl’s assessment day was a great success. In fact, he loved it so much that we decided to enrol him right away, instead of waiting for January. We figured that it couldn’t hurt letting him start early, and that way he goes into the new year already having friends. His new school takes children from 3 months old and goes all the way ‘til matric. I don’t know what the next 14 years hold, whether we’ll move, travel, or stay right here… but what I do know is that my boy is happy, and that is all that matters.