Does anyone really foresee how these tiny little people somehow become an extension of ourselves? That when they hurt, we hurt. That the urge to jump in and fight their fights or cure their ill's will potentially drive us crazy and be even harder than our own personal struggles.
When I held number 1 in my arms for the first time I can honestly say that I was not thinking about her potential braces, math tutoring or having to have "the chat". I just saw my gorgeous rosey cheeked cupie doll. In the first few years I could fix most of her problems with something to eat, a clean nappy/diaper, a cuddle or a band aid. At the worst it was baby panadol or motrin.
Fast forward nine years to day one at the new school. It was a success for two of the little travelers (the 3rd starts at the end of the week, the 4th is at nursery). 1 and 2 bounded out of the school with smiles and were full of information on new friends and new activities. Number 1 appeared to be speaking a different language, in just one day she had picked up a few new terms, she was "psyched" about everything. He was "psyched", she was "psyched", we were all "psyched". G and I both noted that Hannah Montana appeared to have joined our family.
On the second day of school I could see that something was up. Nothing was said but everything was different. Number 2 had the same positive stories but Number 1 was quiet, scary quiet. All answers were short and snappy. The other little travelers picked up on the signs and quickly found their distance. After a few hours of general unpleasantness the tears arrived as did the story. "I went to sit with my new friends in the cafeteria and they said there was no room for me". It is at this point as a mother that a little piece of your heart starts to burn and sting, it then makes it way up to your throat and you have to push it down so that it doesn't change the tone of your voice. All you want are the right words to show her that it's all okay, it's all good. You can make it better.
Over the weekend we work on how we'll work it out, what we'll do. But we both silently know, only one of us has to face the cafeteria when school resumes.
As we arrived back at the school gates this morning everything appears to be going well. The 2nd little traveler runs off to her class and the rest of us walk to number 1's class holding hands and talking. Then it starts. She says "I feel sick, I think I'm going to vomit". I look at her face and I immediately feel the same way. I keep it together and start my little mantra for the morning, "It'll be okay, I'll be here waiting for you at the end of the day, It'll be okay, I'll speak to the counsellor". She's now sobbing in to my shoulder "don't make me go in there, please Mummy, let me stay with you". At this stage, my eyes are burning but I know I have to keep it together, "lets go and see the counsellor together". As we sit with the counsellor and she say's all right things I can see my first little traveler slowly pulling herself together. The counsellor suggests I leave and she stay with her for awhile and she will call me later. She says as I walk out "I'm a mother....she'll be okay......are you okay?"
As I walk to the carpark with little travelers 3 and 4 I'm biting my lip but continuing on with the chatter of Starwars and if number 3 can ever become a true Jedi, he seems oblivious to the drama, but then out of nowhere he say's "Mum, she's going to be fine". I know he's right but I've never been good at seeing the long term picture.