Saturday 21 October 2017

Colette Fitzpatrick's beautiful letter to her daughter (5) on her first day of school is a tear jerker

TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick, with her children Milo (4) and Olivia (2), launched The Children’s Medical and Research Foundation (CMRF) #Kiss4Crumlin campaign to raise awareness and funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital
TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick, with her children Milo (4) and Olivia (2), launched The Children’s Medical and Research Foundation (CMRF) #Kiss4Crumlin campaign to raise awareness and funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital
Colette Fitzpatrick

Colette Fitzpatrick

Oscar Wilde said you can never be overdressed or overeducated. My girl's first day at school shouldn't be a problem though as she's been wearing the uniform on and off all summer; she's that excited.

Unlike her older brother, she was born ready. I predict she'll march in like a boss. Wilde might be a smidge ambitious though for a five-year-old.

She knows who Dr Seuss is, mind. One of her favourite books is Oh, the Places You'll Go.

Fittingly, for her first day in big school, she chimes in when you read the lines: "You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!"

But what if she doesn't make friends quickly? What if someone's mean? What if she's mean? What if her abilities expose a lack of mine?

Am I jealous she'll be with another woman who'll influence her? Maybe I'll home school.

But school is different now too. Teaching you to count is fine but teaching you what counts is even better - knowing everyone is different and finding your voice and who you really are.

Later you'll learn your secret club handshake, you'll laugh, will learn to whisper and text without looking like you are.

I hope you give me a little more detail about your day than he does.

If the school burned down, I'd learn about it from his PA - the girl who sits next to him.

For me, now that the summer is over, I have to start officially remembering what day of the week it is.

Getting two kids ready for school is not as adorable as the ads make out.

There's less good-natured hooshing your chicks into the car, more shouting, more dishcloths being used to wipe faces and stains off jumpers.

But when the morning arrives, the separation anxiety will be all mine.

Like when you were first put in my arms, I'll feel overwhelming love, joy, worry, passion, fear and pride.

Every step I take you to the classroom, I'll want to turn on my heel and go back home with you.

When you go through the door, I'll accept your 'baby' years are now finally over.

I'll scroll through photos of your chubby baby legs, your toothy baby smile, videos of you pulling yourself up at the couch, belly proudly protruding over your nappy.

It takes my breath away how fast these last five years have gone. I swear I will never blink again in case I miss the next five.

I know one mother who's so upset by her little guy's first day at school that she's considering having another child.

I guess it also reminds parents that we too are ageing; we are becoming less needed.

I may not be ready but, baby girl, you are. You are stronger than you seem, braver than you know and smarter than you think.

Remember if you're feeling lonely or sad or mad, know my heart is with you.

"You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way! Oh the places you'll go.''

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