When they placed you on my chest
and I smiled and said, “Oh, it’s you”,
as if I already knew the corners of your face,
this day felt so very far away.
Baby days spent in a bubble
with toddler days stretched out ahead –
fort-building, slow toddler-paced walks outdoors,
and afternoons curled up in my bed
amongst piles of books.
This day felt so very far away from then.
And they warned me, but I couldn’t know
that oh! this day would come at break-neck speed
(I still can’t quite believe it’s here).
But here we are indeed.
You are a schoolboy, wearing a uniform that makes you seem older than your 4 years –
new shoes, slightly too-big-for-you jumper and bag, and the biggest grin upon your face.
(Mine are the only tears).
For you will go now and walk towards that door
and everything will be different from before.
You will smile and wave, and take that step forwards (such a big step in those little shoes)
so excitedly and in such a hurry
that my heart will ache,
knowing how much will change.
You are my eldest, my teacher; we go through the firsts together (it is all new to me too).
And I know, just as we have gone through every new stage hand-in-hand, finding our way,
that you’ll show me how to take that step towards the door
and let you go,
and that it will be ok.