Today has been Big’s first day at school. A day that has caused much anxiety over the holidays, for both of us.
As I tried to talk to Big about it, about what will happen, about how she might feel, about who she might need to talk to, I realised that Big has had so many more ‘first days’ than most other children.
She’s had her first day in foster care. She’s had her first day when she returned to live with her birth family. She’s had the first day the police came to her house. She’s had the first day meeting her social worker. She’s had her first day back in foster care, meeting a different foster carer. She’s had her first day meeting her new family. She’s had her first day staying in her new home. The list could go on and on.
I’m sure that for Big, first days are not something to get excited about. They are not something to ask lots of questions about. They are something to be endured. Because she’s still not sure that she’s not going to have a first day somewhere else.
When we met our children for the first time, nobody had spoken to them about us, nobody had thought to mention to them that they were going to meet their new mummy and daddy that day. Big was 3 and 2 months at the time. When Little reached that age, I remember having a conversation with my husband about how much understanding she had and could we even begin to imagine doing anything, never mind such a huge momentous thing, without discussing it with her first.
We talk to Big all the time. We voice her thoughts for her, we wonder about what it could be, we describe her feelings for her, we talk about forever. But her first day meeting us was not the way it should have been and she does not trust that it won’t be this way again. When people come to the house that she doesn’t know she immediately goes on the offensive, smiling, being polite, just in case. Just in case these are the new people that she’s going to have another first day with.
So Big had her first day at school. And I was there to get her. And I gave her a kiss and I voiced her feelings and I spoke without asking questions and we made it through. She’s been a dog for most of the afternoon and she’s tried out a couple of new words that I don’t think will be on any spelling lists and all she said was that she had an egg sandwich for lunch but that’s okay. My Big girl had another first day to add to her many and I’m so so proud of her.
The best bits
We went to the beach yesterday. It was fab. There were little waves that the girls were jumping over, they dug a huge hole, they made a sandcastle with a moat and we had a picnic. It was a really lovely way to finish the holidays.
Yesterday when Little came into our room (at yon time) she was getting me to repeat Minion phrases and giggling when I said the wrong ones. I told her that she made my heart happy . She whispered to me to come closer, threw her arms around my neck and whispered, ‘I love you too mummy’.