Look at them.
There they are all dressed up in strange new uniforms on the first day of school.
New schools for both, and a new era for us all.
One of them is off to High School. He is very chilled.
One of them is off to Intermediate. She is overwhelmed and struggling, trying to be brave.
I look at this photograph and my heart is kind of bursting. With pride, with love, with the need to throw my arms around them and squeeze them tight.
They are my babies. They are growing up. Way too fast.
Just look at them here! On her first day at primary school, back in 2009, big brother imparts his knowledge to a willing protege. She is all ears.
How little are they??!! The scary thing is that this just doesn't seem that long ago.
Argh, how time is flying! I know I say it every year, but really there has never been a truer cliche.
The days are long but the years are short, and time waits for no woman to get her parenting crap together.
I can't quite believe that I have a kid in High School.
I should be way more scared, but I'm not. Some awesome things have happened for this guy over the past couple of months. He is ready. He is going to be OK. Better than OK.
He has GOT THIS.
I'm so proud of him.
And this girl, awwww my heart went out to her that first day.
I KNEW that as soon as we got to school and she saw all the familiar faces, everyone dressed the same in the ("Ugly! Itchy! Uncomfortable! I look like a boy! I don't feel like myself!") uniform she would be OK. She would forget about what she was wearing and the excitement would kick in.
Some of us cope with change better than others. Some of us struggle with transitions and the unknown.
I knew I had done everything I could to make sure she would be OK.
We were prepared.
I had met with the school, clued them in on how to get the best out of my quirky energetic math-phobe. (With a teacher who would harness her creativity and use that energy, not try to squash it).
I had taken her on a train ride to practise tagging on and off, so she knew the stops, knew the route. (She was not impressed - but she might have just been a bit hangry).
I had arranged for little brother to go to a friend's house, big brother was getting taken to his new school by daddy, and my girl had my full attention. I had cleared the decks and there was nowhere else I needed to be.
We just had to get to school and then she'd see it would all be OK.
And it was.
As soon as we found "our crowd" there was nothing but squeals and laughter and hugs. Phew.
The powhiri was amazing. The sense of welcome and warmth at the school was reassuring.
And when they called out the class lists, wahoo! I immediately knew we had scored a fabulous teacher (she announced that her class was "the best year 7 class for 2016").
My formerly-miserable daughter came home buzzing. Not only did she have good friends in her class, but had made two new friends. And caught the train with her pals no problemo.
I can't describe to you the relief I felt.
I suffered through intermediate school with bullying and no friends, in a new town. I was the kid who went to 10 schools and had no roots, remember?
My daughter gets to go to school with kids she's known since she was tiny.
Here they are as 3 & 4 years olds (top photo, that's her on the far left) the same bunch who began Intermediate together on Tuesday. I can't even begin to explain what that means to me.
My kids have no clue how blessed they are. For them it's normal to be part of a community where you have history and belonging, where you "know and are known". I am beyond grateful.
And not just for my kids' roots and friendships which have survived the years, but for MINE.
Here are a bunch of my mum friends, sisters in arms and allies in the trenches of parenting (There are more of you - you know who you are!)
We listen to each other's struggles and celebrate each others' victories (with coffee!)
Ahhhhhh, man, it's all going to be OK!
Our kids are going to be OK!
We've launched them into the deep the waters of a new stage of life, and they are swimming, not drowning.
(Miss fab gets up and off to school on time with the help of these cute little notes she posts around the place...)
High school is not too scary.
Intermediate is not too scary.
And this guy is trucking on too, all alone at Primary school...
Three kids. Three Schools.
It's a whole new era - but we're going to be OK.
SURVIVING SCHOOL POSTS:
- The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Oil
- Dyslexic Brains are Good Brains Too
- Detours, Road Blocks & Getting there Eventually
- How I Turned my Reluctant Readers into Book Lovers
- Baby gets Enrolled
- On Falling...
- When Being the Youngest gets Tough
- Meanness, Vulnerability and Kids on Social Media