Plenty of firsts here this week. Nothing unusual there: houses up and down the country are sorting out little pinafores and little schoolbags in anticipation of first days at school.
We’re no different. There’s no uniform but there’s shiny new workbooks and an air of anticipation. What makes our first day particularly significant outside of the context of our little home is that our eldest is going to a new school.
A new school in an old building. A building that is the very first school in the country to change from Catholic patronage to Educate Together. A bricks and mortar admission that we need to allow the church’s stranglehold on education in Ireland to be loosened. Our last Minister for Education was gung-ho regarding the need for change, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has admitted that the handover process is taking a lot longer than anticipated, though he blames local politics as much as the religious orders. (Our school opened last september in a temporary location such were the delays)
And tomorrow, our little boy will become a Junior Infant in that historical school. If you’d asked me a year ago I’d have assured you of my stoicism; after all, he’s been a crèche kid these last four years – surely this will be a case of dropping him off somewhere different. Instead, I can feel the butterflies flapping their wings this evening, watching my little boy head out into the world. Can he open that new lunchbox, that bottle? Will he make friends? Will he continue to be Very Grumpy Indeed when anyone tries to kiss him that isn’t me? I’m thinking yes to all of those.
In the same week that I wave him off to big school, not to be outdone, the little crazy dude decided no way was he going to go in a cot anymore. After a sustained and boisterous protest we finally moved him into his big boy bed. They’re both moving on. No choice but to be ready. Onwards and upwards!