Let Us Go Home
Yes, schools have switched to online learning as the world is trying to find its feet in the recent COVID crisis. But it is more during such times, than before that I cannot help reminiscing how different things seemed a few months back. And as an ode to the school and peer learning of the not so distant past, I hope my thoughts will resonate with mothers of toddlers who have experienced the joys of early school and pre-school learning.
As a kid, I remember waiting impatiently for the school bell to ring so that, I could run out and see my father who would come to pick me up. Seeing him standing patiently, waiting for me to emerge from the sea of hot yet happy faces, was a reassuring sight. After almost two decades, not much seemed to have changed. As they say, life has completed a full circle, where I as a parent, could not but help feel impatient when the bell rang as I watched my child walk out of his school premises.
So here I am talking about the time when my son was only three and half years old. I have to admit that the best half an hour of my day back then was when I would go to pick him up from his play school. Well, let’s just say that it was dramatically and diametrically opposite to how I felt for the half an hour when I had to send him off to school. Packing them off to school or anywhere for that matter was a cliff climbing task. When you reach the edge and fall screaming your head off, only your soul knows the massive amount of energy and will power consumed during the course of making a child wear a pair of jeans and a T shirt. With the school bag tagged on one arm and tugging my son with the other, I tried really hard to make his steps match with mine, but alas, I would have to save that for another day. With stubborn baby steps, he waltzed across the road, expression vacant and feigning no sense of urgency on the prospect of being late to school again! With a prompt bye and flashing nod, he vanished into the realm of poetry, craft, slides and merry go rounds.
The magical years of early learning
There is something almost magical to watch children in play schools. Tiny shoulders and hands carrying larger than life fluorescent bags and inquisitive questioning minds with no idea what homework or exams mean. They play, fight, cry and squeal to give to themselves an education that those twenty times their age, crave for. Castled away in their little world, away from family but comfortable among peers, these tiny toddlers learn some of their first social and intellectual skills. It is also at the same time, that as parents, we suddenly find ourselves confused over whether we enjoy this free time away from them or secretly wish for them to be back soon. Something like a fix, since all day, while scampering and pampering them we mutter for some space and time to relax, but once they are gone, we find it hard to put our mind a hundred percent on anything else without thinking about what they might be up to.
Pick up time
But, when the time came to pick my son up from school, the feeling was a whole new experience. It was like walking on the sand in anticipation of a wave, which touches you and lifts your spirit.
There were these small crevices in his school wall, from where parents could sneak peek into the grounds. When it was time to leave, the children came yelling and cheering out of their class. On one side of the wall, there was a great shuffle of feet, crescendo in gibberish, clamoring for the gathering of bags as the little ones stood or sat on the low benches waiting for their teacher to open the gates. The story was not too different on the other side of the wall where there was craning of necks, a shuffle of feet moving forward towards the school gate and a surprisingly total stop in the usual humdrum of chit chatter. The teacher strode down the aisle to remove the curtains and open the door. The parents out of courtesy allowed her a split second to step aside before the tirade gushed into the narrow door. The wall now broken and a big smile on the inhabitants of each erstwhile side!
Some jumped, some laughed, some clung, and some simply radiated with happiness. Who may you ask? Well, let me just say that the expressions were mutual.
Holding my son’s hand and guiding him out from the inside of the school to the outside of the world, I have silently wished to hold him always, to guide him on his path and to let go when it is time.
And, then of course, as if waking up from a dream and my philosophical outpourings to the immediate concerns, I also wished that his lunch box was empty and its contents in his tummy, that his hands and legs were not bruised and that he didn’t doze off on the way back home.
Well, little memories make a big part of our lives, especially those that are related to the growing up years of our children. And though it is best to make new memories whilst enjoying and coping with the present, it doesn’t hurt to look back and smile a bit too.
Tasneem Sariya is a freelance blogger and a stay-at-home mother. She holds a degree in Geography and is an ex-Google employee. She enjoys traveling, reading and writing.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.