Are you there yet?
Are you waiting in the car?
Scrolling through your phone while you savour the last few minutes of togetherness?
Are you listening to your toddler hum along to The Wiggles tape in the backseat, or your pre-schooler babble about Shopkins and Pokemons and Spiderman? (It’s always Spiderman isn’t it?)
I was there, right where you are, eight years ago. And as I come to the end of my journey in this phase of life you begin yours.
For the last eight years my three children have moved through daycare and pre-school before transitioning on to “big school”. Here I sit, on the precipice of my last child off to big school, while you begin your first foray into day care.
I imagine for you the last 24 hours have been a blur of schedules and organisation: bags packed, spare clothes folded and neatly placed in a brand new backpack, bottles, blankies all bundled up.
You’ve timetabled and coordinated and spent so much time on soothing your child about being a big kid now, about Mummy still being there even if she leaves for a little while, about oh how much fun it's going to be.
You’ve smiled and laughed and talked up just how wonderful it will be, when what you feel, really, is an empty kind of grief.
As you sit before the doors of the day care, ready to drop your little one off for the first time, so much runs through your mind. Will there be tears? Will they hold you tight and refuse to go? Or will they run towards the toys without looking back? You can’t decide what will be worse. Either will break your heart.
How do you take those first few steps?
I want you to know that while this seems like the hardest thing you’ve ever done, it's only the first in a non-stop series of goodbyes. Goodbye at day care. Goodbye on the first playdate. Goodbye at pre-school. Goodbye at big school.