Be careful what you wish for

Posted on March 28, 2011

If you’d asked me four years ago what day I was looking forward to more than any other, I’d have had only one answer: the day my youngest child goes to school. I had two small children and too many deadlines to think about. I dreamed of the day when I would have enough time to write a novel and not be interrupted halfway through every sentence. Every. Sentence.

I worked late into the night, woke up all night and woke up early. From there, the chance to ship them off to school looked like a ticket to the Promised Land – for me, if not for them.

Today I received a note home from school. Enrollment packs for 2012 are available for collection at the office. It dawned on me, as it has been slowly dawning on me since the beginning of the year, that this is my last year with a small child at home.

My last year of ‘I need a snack’. My last year of ‘Can I watch this DVD?’. My last year of ‘What shall we do today Mummy?’. My last year of ‘No, I won’t’. My last year of ‘I know you’re on the phone but I need you to wipe my bottom RIGHT NOW’.

My last year.

I never imagined I would feel this sad.

Last Thursday, Mr4 and I walked into town. We had plans. He was going to walk all the way in his new, bouncy, enormous, white sneakers. We were going to have a milkshake. We were going to pick up a new Fireman Sam DVD to rent. Life on the edge with a four year old in tow.

He turned to me as we walked out our front gate. “This is going to be the Best Day, Mum,” he said, before bounding off to show me how well he could skip in his brand new, bouncy, enormous, white sneakers.

And it was. We had no chores and nowhere to be. We wandered around, got the DVD, had the milkshake, visited Gran and Pops, and went home. He was thrilled that I’d got all my work done and wouldn’t need to spend any time on the phone or the computer. As was I.

That night, as I lay in bed with Mr7, enjoying the 20 minutes of one-on-one time that we get each day in the guise of Reading, I realised that I would soon be doing this with both boys. Squeezing an entire day’s closeness into one tiny window.

Unlike now. When I have two whole days of pure, unadulterated Mr4. All to myself.

So, school next year.

I miss him already.


  1. Nita Davis

    I have only two words of encouragement for you “School Breaks”. I wish you the best with all the changes taking place.

  2. Mila

    Lovely and moving. You are an amazing woman and mother.

  3. Saucy B

    I can relate. I kind of had the same feeling when i went back to work a couple of months ago after taking some time off.
    My son was in half day kindergarten – so he was only at school 3 hours day. And while it was very frustrating sometimes to manage with him the rest of the hours before bedtime, we really got into a good routine. I liked the freedom to do something after school with him etc.
    Now, as you said, i have to cram some interaction into a very small window of time each day.
    Thanks for the heads up about the Rewind moving. I love this concept and will continue to link up. 🙂

  4. Kellie

    Oh, this makes me tear up. Pre-school is beckoning here too and with one post you’ve made me realise how much I’m going to miss my little girl. I still do have another li’l princess at home, but still…

  5. Donna

    I think this was one of my first Fibro posts I ever read so its fitting it should be the last WR post. I so loved it then and do now. I only hope the anxiety of big school is easing – for everyone!

  6. Melanie

    Oh! That sounded so final! I will start enjoying every second I have with my youngest ones and just be grateful the “Moooommmm! Will you come check me?” is still going on! Thanks for the perspective!

    I will miss visiting the Rewind here but know it is in good hands. Thanks for all of the followers you’ve given me and the introduction you’ve given me to blogging and blog hops.

  7. ClaireyH

    And a few months closer to next year, I am pretty sure I will be ok with number ome going off to school, number 2 might be lots different in three years.

  8. Rachel Faith

    What a poignant post. I wish for this all the time. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy these early days.

  9. Diminishing Lucy

    Oh Al. My Mondays and my Fridays are my two glorious days with Lexie. She is crossing off the days on her calendar, so excited she is, at the idea of school in October. Me, I just want to hide the calendar.

    I love this post. I shall comings to rewind wherever it is hosted….. Xx

  10. Mum on the Run

    Beautiful post.

  11. A Farmer's Wife

    My baby is off to school next year. She is more than ready. Me? Not so much.

  12. therhythmmethod

    What a great post to round out your reign of rewind. I love this post. You’re a star Mrs Fibro. Can’t wait to read that book of yours. x

  13. Seana Smith

    Ah Allison, I enjoyed this the first time and now tonight again. Hmmm… I think that unlike other commenters, I have quite a strong desire to see my twins off to school next year. They turned five in May and they seem so big now… plus I have had fourteen and a half years of kids at home… that’s a long stretch. Actually I did have a ‘year off’ when my now 11 year old went to school. I got pregnant with the twins in the late part of that (INCREDIBLY EASY) year.

    Well, when the littlies do go off to school next year I am sure I shall shed some tears. But there will be relief too. And absolutely no pregnancies this time around!

    Wee aside… I am a firm believer in the odd day off for the kids, one at a time; just Mum and one at home. A little break mid-term or as required. It brings back the memories of life before school.

    No ‘endings’ to be found in my blog, too new, too many beginnings! Nighty night.

  14. Amanda

    I have occasional days when I think this, but my small boy is so much fun to hang around with that *most* of the time I remember that these few years are a relatively short time and then working from home will become that much easier again. But every reminder is a good thing. And I love his joy about his new shoes!

  15. My New Normal

    It’s strange how we think we will feel one way about a future event and then when it comes we find we feel completely different.

  16. Voluptacon

    I’ll be doing this next year when my little man starts kindy!

    Oh the tears!!!

  17. Louisa

    In tears (like all your other readers) and going to do something lovely with Coco this afternoon instead of taking our time together for granted, which I know I do way too often.

  18. scribblingmum

    Gawh! My mouth moved involuntary downwards at the edges when I read that 🙁 That’ll be me in a few years time and I’m feeling a little sad about it now!

    p.s those trainers of Mr4’s sound brilliant
    p.p.s thanks for linking up over at mine

  19. ClaireyH

    I will be sending my eldest off next year and clearly am still in denial, I happened to miss the first cut off for enrollments at the catholic school, so guess we won’t be going there.

    But we are also attempting to plan a big trip in three years when the kids will come out of school, so I am trying to concentrate on that…also, I am a bit over playing UNO, guess who and snap, so I think I will be ok.

  20. Megan Blandford

    Beautiful. It’s one of the most contrary things about motherhood – wanting to see our kids grow up and reach the next stages, but wanting them to stay little forever too.

  21. Brenda

    Awww. Sniff. Sob. Such a bittersweet post, Al.xx

  22. mamabred

    Such a sweet post. I so remember that feeling with my now nearly 8 and nearly 10 year olds.

    I am also currently in limbo, as I have primary kids and a toddler and a baby at home. I am willing myself to remember that feeling with my little ones – 3mths and 20mths – who I have at home full time…well, Miss Nearly 2 JUST started occasional care and much to my dismay is totally and utterly ready for it and loving her independant time (all 6 hours of it lol)…and just trying to get good at savouring the moment.

    It’s hard when you are in the thick of sleepless nights, teething, breastfeeding and house messed up daily but I often find myself holding my little teeny baby close and just trying to REMEMBER every single detail, just barely able to hold myself back from whispering in his ear – “you, you’ll stay little and forget about growing up, wont you??”..

    ok, so this comment has turned into a post of its own : ) powerful topic, such a tearjerker!

  23. Tina ~ tina gray dot me

    I KNEW I shouldn’t have read this! I’ve been teary the last couple of days. I’m totally hearing you. Miss 4, the youngest of 5, will be starting school next year and as much as her two preschool days a week gives me a chance to breathe, I’m going to miss her so much!

  24. Christie - Childhood 101

    Dreading school. Completely. Can’t even think about it. Total denial 🙁

  25. Gill

    i have my first son starting school next year and my second son not starting until 2014!

    but i see what you mean, the years at home with my first little monkey seem to have passed soooo quickly, it really is a huge milestone, sending them off to school

    lovely post

    gill xo

  26. Kymmie

    I love this. And it makes me teary because it really does go all too fast. I still have another two years before my youngest stops whingeing at my feet every day, interrupts my toilet stops and touches/destroys everything. But I know I will still miss it. xx

  27. Mama of 2 boys

    Oh Allison! Talk about tapping in to my water works. Such a beautiful post and too close to home for me I’m afraid. Even now, I don’t like thinking about my eldest boy starting school and it’s almost 2 years away.
    Sounds like you’re making the most of the time you spend together, so those precious memories will get you through the next chapter.

  28. Jodi Gibson

    I’m still at the ‘won’t it be great point’, although Miss 5 started school this year and I do miss her. But I also see how much she is loving learning and how proud I am of her.
    As for Miss 2.5, we still have a few years, and I don’t think it will hit me until the crunch point. I am so enjoying spending time one on one with her.
    I love seeing life as stepping forward and building beautiful memories. Times don’t last forever but memories do (and photos)!

  29. River

    I remember loving the last year with my youngest home alone, more so because I knew that once he was in school, I’d be looking for work. I hadn’t worked since I was pregnant with the first one….

  30. Naturally Carol

    What a great thing to realise now..not this time next year. Now you can have the best year ever, relishing each day and the presence of your little Mister Four!

  31. Thea

    I am with you all the way on this one! This is my second last year with Miss3…and I’m missing her already, already!!

  32. Belinda - Nest Design Studio

    ohhh now I’m worried about sending my babies off to school and they are only 21 months & 7 weeks!

  33. edenland

    Exquisite words.

    ” … in his new, bouncy, enormous, white sneakers.”

    THAT made me tear up. Then I read the rest. Just so beautifully said.

  34. Looking for Blue Sky

    Love the under-fives and have to borrow the children of friends now…the happy carefree days with mine seem so long ago, but they were wonderful 🙂

  35. Kelloggsville

    I would give anything just to have one pre school day back with my daughter, even a bad day! just one. *sigh*

  36. Maxabella

    Awww Al! But just remember that they really are enormous white sneakers to grow into. He will be ready, and so will you. x

  37. Photographer Mum

    My daughter is starting school next year too. I told her this only last night and she promptly burst into tears saying how much she would miss me and how sad she was about it. It broke my heart. I too have been waiting for “big school” to start and now I don’t want it to.

  38. Belinda

    Another teary one here! Those days seem so far away for me right now, but I can so relate to those emotions. x

  39. therhythmmethod

    Don’t get me started. I am torn between shipping eldest boy (4) off to school next year, and wishing we had more time. But I have two more boys in the pipelines and as every stranger in the street tells me: I’ve got my hands full.
    Off to crawl under the doona and cry.

  40. Chantelle {fat mum slim}

    I was crying before the end of the first paragraph. I could see where you were headed.

    Enjoy him. Soak him up. xx

  41. Cate

    Oh just do what I did – wait until they’re all at school…and then have another!!

  42. Dorothy

    I’m in the same boat and that’s why I quit my job. I desperately wanted to spend more time with my 4 yo before he too became a school kid. And today I realised that I will actually have to enrol him in school soon! Waaaaah!

    He’ll be 5 in a month… Waaaaah!

  43. Lady Estrogen

    I’m sure I’ll be the same way, but for now? I’m countin’ down the days.
    I think I have something like 1000 left. Not so bad, right? LOL

  44. Lucy

    Oh Al. I can so totally relate.
    I am now in tears. I am in exactly the same place. Lexie’s enrollment interview is this week. I lose her in October, in term fourm, and already I feel bereft.

    I have been waiting (and looking forward) to this since 2004, and now I feel like my heart is breaking.

    I am glad you had a lovely chilled milkshakey kind of day with Mr 4.


  45. Salamander

    Don’t make me cry!! I am an ugly crier – I have witnesses. My eldest started school this year – and I am already sad at the thought of finite time at home with my three year old and one year old girlies. And I think I would drive them mental if I home-schooled them!! I love those bouncy-white-sneakered days…must make the most of them! Bugger the ironing!! xxx

  46. Deer Baby

    Wail! Don’t start me off – I’ve just put mascara on.

    Love those sort of days just pootling around with a little one in tow.

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