On Monday my daughter starts school.
She missed the cut off by 10 days to start last year. Born 12 days after her due date, makes it all even more ironic.
Many friends sent their children off to school last year, I was happy and excited for them, yet I could not hold back the silent tears that fell as I looked at all the photos uploaded on Facebook or their little cherubs a dressed in school uniforms, ready for the next adventure life had in store for them.
I was not sad at the thought of having Kiara home for an extra year, I was sad at the things she was missing out on, the feeling of my little girl being left behind a little.
Once the tears had dried, I decided to make the most of our extra time together, to treat this as a year that was just meant to be.
To start with, Kiara struggled with the fact that “all the big kids” had gone to school, and would get upset on visiting friends who’s children her age were at school while she played with “the babies”. She seemed to be a little bored and restless.
Only now, as I reflect on this year behind us, I look at the magic of what it truly was.
I think it was a year for my 2 children to get to know each other better, to play, explore the world and become friends.
At the start of last year, Noah was 22 mths old, still a baby, he and Kiara would participate in parallel play, in which they would play beside each other, but not with each other. Kiara was frustrated that her little brother could not do all the things she could, and that he did not know how to treat her toys properly, or how to share. In fact, at the beginning of last year, Noah could not even talk.
But then that baby became a boy, and a friendship became to blossom. Now don’t get me wrong, I am the Mother of two normal siblings, who fight, snatch, hit, scream and get frustrated with each other. There are times they need to break from each other.
Kiara did attend Kindy 3 days a week, but that still left 4 days, the majority of the week for them to explore the world together.
They packed their backpacks to go on wild adventures into the cubby house in the back yard, learnt the best hiding spots in the house, did arts and crafts together and delved into all sorts of imaginative play.
So, as I sit here, about to send my eldest off to school, I realise that it is not just me as Mum, or her as a child about to begin a new adventure that is affected.
I finally realise that the complete dynamics of our family is about to change.
I think there is going to be a little boy who will miss the extra time he got to play with, learn from and grow with his big sister.
Sure, there will always be afternoons, weekends and school holidays, and before we know it, he will be ready to head off to school as well.
It has really taken me until now, on watching all the great adventures my two get up to, to realise, that this last year, well it will always be what I call a bonus year.