Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First day of school


Whether by careless accident
or careful plan
we are where they begin

They grow in us
like germs or fictions
and we grow big with them

Red, mewling strangers
they tear our thresholds
and immediately we love them

When people say
they look like us
we smile and blush

We listen for their cries
as if we felt their pain
and hunger deep inside us

and hold them tightly
in our arms as if we'd found
a lost part of ourselves

We want to give them
all the things we never had
to make it up to them

for all the times
when we were hurt or or sad
to start again and put right

our mistakes in them,
to run in front of them
with warning flags.

We who've failed to be
the authors of our lives
write theirs.

We make them heroes,
starts whose happy endings
will scatter light in ours.

We feed them with our dreams
then wait and watch
like gardeners for flowers.

Vicki Feaver (1943-)

Allow me to be a little bit sentimental today. It's the first day of school for my son.

How can it be five years already?
Only yesterday you were placed hidden by towels, squirming on my deflated belly. Your weight now on the outside. They lifted you up, your limbs grasping for warmth and I saw you. My son. Your poor, mis-shapened head, wide mouth crying out at the new sensations. I gathered you close under my chin, my heart beating to comfort you.

I've watched you growing, your personality unfurling like a koru releasing each tendril. Sometimes it is a gentle, tender revelation. At other times a sharp explosion of force. Your helpless dependence changing into strength and purpose.

Today I gather you in again, to comfort me. To feel again, that pressure from you, the welling up of love inside. To smell your small boy scent, to feel your fingers slipping, worm like into mine.

I know you are ready for this next step. Already your mind is reaching out trying to grasp, to devour new ideas. But for myself, I wish to return just for one sweet moment to that time when your existence could be experienced by me only. Those gentle rolls, rippling the surface of my skin. The pummels of your fists as though you were knocking out a coded message. Cradled under my heart and your weight inside me.


  1. Oh Penny, you write and say all of it so well!

    Big day for mum too today, eh?

    Only person with tears in their eyes when our Mr 5 started school was this mum, lol.

  2. lol, it's a big moment for mum & child. Happy birthday to him! Next thing you know, he'll be being measured for an Intermediate uniform..........
    Hope he settles in fast, but it does take a little time.

  3. OMG how wonderfully terrifying!

    Happy birthday to your lovely big boy.
    I’ll be working Tue-Sat over summer school. I hope to see more of your lovely family then (although I know Sundays are busy for you and family)

    Hugs EM

  4. You are making me emotional, Penny! It is such a bittersweet milestone. I cried on Ethan's first day - he didn't!

    I hope Tim's first day was a great success.

    You'll be okay, by the way. LOL :-)

  5. Look forward to seeing your LO of this day Penny! :-) Hope you are coping okay!! and Tim settled in okay at school for you. Doesn't 5 years go so quickly.

  6. Oh those words will make some beautiful sentimental journaling on a future layout! Happy Birthday to the Big Boy ... hope that first day of school went well.

  7. Happy Birthday Tim. Penny that was such a beautiful post. I hope you both coped well today with this big day. Thinking of you both. He sure does look pretty happy in that photo.

  8. Aw - such a nice post Penny. They grow up too fast...You must be very proud of your little man. Enjoy - Loved that poem too!

  9. Awww I had tears in my eyes reading that.
    I can't believe 5 years have past and I still remember talking you on the phone after Tim was born and being amazed you still had the energy. Must have been on a hormone high ;-)
    I hope school was a success and the teacher was kind to you both.

  10. Awwww. So how did the first day go for you both? Hope it was great. He looks so cute and ready for his day.

  11. Anonymous7:09 pm

    perfect journalling for a layout!

  12. No fair making me cry. Now I just want to run home and give my own boy snuggles. I hope he had a fabulous first day and that your survived too.

  13. Wow - cool!! Congrats on the big day and the awesome post about it.

  14. Be as sentimental as you like. Soon you'll be buying that Formal outfit ..... and believe me it will come quicker than you think

  15. Lovely writing ,Penny.

    I know that double-edged sword too well. The excitement that they've made it to school - they have grown. The newness of it. And then that loss- giving them over to someone else for part of the day. And the feeling that they are starting on the journey of leaving you...