Being a parent of small children has been wonderful. I think. It must have been. Why else would I want to cry when my son goes off for his first day at proper school?
Of course, there has been a lot of tiredness. Confusion. Constant feelings of failure. Cleaning up various horrendous bodily products. In a changing room. A car. Smeared down a slide. Being jumped on, stamped on, farted on, shouted at, whinged at until your brain wants to leap out of your ear and emigrate.
Your kids can be a lot of fun, though. You get to spend a lot of time with them. Share your wonder about the world. See the wonder you’ve created in their faces. Have the hugs. Have your child fall asleep in your arms, completely content. It’s powerful, humbling, life changing stuff, and somehow, no matter how tired you get, you can’t get enough of it. Thank goodness your kids will be with you forever.
“Do I actually have to send my kids to school?” You think. “Isn’t there a scandinavian country where they only go to school for an hour a week and all get amazing test results?”
You watch the teacher lead them away from you. You tell yourself that it is just a transition, but you know deep down that this is it. Before you were a parent you could never have imagined how rewarding it could be to be totally responsible for another human being. And now that time is over. Forever.
Still, at least you can share their school excitement with them. They destroyed the person you used to be and replaced them with someone whose sole purpose is their welfare. At least you can share their lives. Live through them.
“What did you do at school today, Son?” You ask, pitifully excited.
He ignores you for a moment, then gives a slow, bored shrug. “Can’t remember.” He mumbles.