I expected torrents of tears. Snorts of despair and denial, frantic rubbing of face with tissues. And that’s just me.
It was BUB.1’s last day at his first pre-school today and the leaving ceremony they inflict on us during morning ‘circle time’ is a killer. I cast my mind back to BUB. 1’s first term when I had to sing along to the ‘Goodbye song’, as a little girl I hardly knew skipped off to big school. I was a mess. What is wrong with me, I thought. And again, and again, every time I was witness to one of these events, I would fight back hot tears of sadness and sentimentality.
Maybe the other Mums are right. Maybe it’s because it’s the first upheaval in our little ones’ lives that we can’t control, can’t protect them from, can’t stop happening. Or maybe I’m just a blithering idiot who needs to get a grip.
And so to yesterday, when the first round of goodbyes began. Ten in all this term. I wept for those children. And to last night, when I went to bed dreading my own son’s ceremony at 3pm this afternoon, during the final sing-song of the day. The feeling of tightness as I arose. I wanted to be strong for him, to allay his worries about what lies ahead for him (another pre-school in another town, just as lovely I’m sure). But he has made strong attachments to several little characters at the school and I know he will miss them.
But what is this? At 9.15am this morning they asked if I would like them to do it now, with the three other leavers that day. I had no tissues. I had nowhere to run. But better this than dread it all day, I thought, so yes. And he was up first, as we sang the ‘Memory song’ and then his ‘Goodbye song’ which we had been practising for days to prepare him (me). The presentation of a folder and two books brimming full of photographs and observations about my beloved boy, and a fluffy “memory bear” for him to keep.
And not a tear from me. Or him. And just a little face next to ours, one of the little characters that BUB.1 is most fond of, asking: “Where is he going?” to which I answered the name of his new pre-school, many, many miles away from this one.
“I am going there too,” he said, plainly.