And so this morning, at around 8.50am, it happened.
Mr.5 & I walked up to kindergarten, and into the front hall area where all the bag hooks are.
He chose a hook (it always takes a little while…I’ve learnt to be patient). He pressed his photo of himself on the velcro circle above the hook, hung his bag on it, then turned to me.
Our time to say goodbye.
My time to give him a monster bear hug, a big juicy kiss on his soft cheek, and whisper, “Have a good day..have fun…love you!” in his ear.
Today Mr.5 started to shuffle off towards his classroom. I sensed straightaway that he wanted to go without our usual affectionate goodbye. He looked up at me with a sheepish, apologetic expression on his face…and said nothing, just shook his head.
He didn’t need to say anything. It was a look & gesture that clearly said, “not today, Mum. No show of affection today.”
I get it.
“Ok then,” I said brightly. “Have fun.” – and settled for a quick half-cuddle and kiss atop his head.
I couldn’t say goodbye without any affection at all.
Not today, anyway.
As I drove off, I wasn’t sad – but in fact, found myself smiling.
Because my little man is growing up. Taking more little steps towards becoming more independent. He showed me in way that respected my feelings…showed genuine empathy.
And made me feel proud.
He’s ready for big school.
I’ll save the tears for when I have to say goodbye next year, at the primary school gate.