My youngest started school this year. After the initial sadness of my "baby" growing up too fast, I was looking forward to a fun year of school. I planned to help in the classroom and on excursions as much as possible and I looked forward to getting to know the teacher, other parents and her classmates.
We started the school year positively. My daughter was very excited for kindergarten and was thrilled she would finally be joining her big sister after years of coming along to drop off and pick up. I was so excited to see my little one take part in school events like the Easter hat parade and book week, and I couldn't wait to see how she went in cross country and swimming carnivals. I had been through all of that with my older child and I really enjoyed school events.
I remember watching my older daughter get an award at her assembly last year and thinking soon I would be watching my youngest do the same. There is nothing like seeing the big smiles of pride and excitement on your child's face when they are up on stage and spot you in the audience. I also looked forward to the Mother's Day celebrations. Our school usually held a concert followed by morning tea in the classroom and the opportunity for the kids to share their work with parents.
This year, for my little girl's first year of school we have had nothing. I barely know the parents because we aren't allowed on school grounds. I have spoken to the teacher a handful of times but I feel as though school is a world that I have no insight into. I haven't been in to the classroom to see my daughter's artwork, haven't watched her walk around the school oval in a dodgy, hand-made Easter bonnet and I haven't seen her proud face on stage at assembly.
In the scheme of things, it isn't a big deal, I know this. I know we are lucky to be healthy and safe. I can't help but grieve a little, though. This is my baby and I will never again have a child starting school. It is not how I hoped her school experience would begin and I feel sad to think that we have missed out on so much.
- Christy Kidner is an editorial assistant at The Canberra Times.