Your first day at school

I remember that first cry of yours – an angry squeal, as if to ask, “Why are you taking me away from my mother?” How tiny you were then! You seemed so fragile! You were so beautiful! I remember how proud your father and I were of you, our own little twin daughters! You were a miracle of life! We could hardly believe that two such perfect babies belonged to us!

Slowly you grew. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months. From helpless babes you grew to an awareness of things and people around you. I remember the endless nights when the two of you took turns to sleep and I would wonder if you would ever sleep at the same time.

I enjoyed holding your soft warm bodies, cuddling you close to my heart. How I loved those first delighted smiles and coos, crawls and stumbles!

Slowly you grew, learnt to crawl and walk and with each new month, you learnt new skills; and with each new thing you learnt, you grew a little independent of me. You no longer needed me to hold your hand as you ran around the house. You no longer needed me to play beside you. You could now eat by yourselves and make yourselves understood, yet I did not feel sad, because I was still the centre of your world. When ever anything frightened you or seemed threatening, you immediately rushed to seek shelter in my arms. You still willingly believed everything I told you. “Mummy can never be wrong,” was your firm belief.

You made me feel so needed! You showed me the meaning of life! You showed me all the silver linings behind the clouds and all the pots of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Today you are going to school for the first time! How sweetly serious you look in your smart uniforms, with your school bags and shoes! As I look at you, my heart contracts with mixed feelings – of pride and sadness. Pride because you are going to learn to take part in social life and sadness because from now on I will no longer be the centre of your world. That little world of ours must, of necessity, be destroyed in order that you learn to live in the bigger, wider world beyond. Now no longer will my word be law. Now I will hear statements like, “But Mummy, teacher says….” Some unknown person is going to take over the task of molding your little minds.

And you so sweetly say, “Don’t worry, Mummy. We won’t cry for you. We will go to school by ourselves.” Oh, how those words hurt! I feel like sitting down and crying my heart out. But no, I must smile and be cheerful as I explain to you what a great adventure going to school is.

Your grandmother looks on and smiles a little nostalgically. She pats my shoulder and says, “The greatest pain of a mother is to see her children grow. As the year keep coming, the distance keeps growing and the pain keeps increasing. But so does the pride and satisfaction. I guess where there is love there is always pain and if there is no pain in letting go there is no love.”

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