Things I won’t have time to tell my daughter on her first day of school

Daughter1. Always eat your lunch. Ham sandwiches hidden for a week in your schoolbag will make your bag smell worse than your sister’s shoes. In return, I promise never to put in your lunchbox anything that goes by the name of polony.

2. Learning to read is probably hard work at first but stick with it. It’s the one gift I wish I could give you but unfortunately it doesn’t come pre-packaged from Target. If you can read, you will discover the world.

3. Girls can be mean. I hope you never find this out first hand. But if you do, come and talk to me. I’ll tell you about the weeks in primary school when I ate lunch by myself in the toilets after my ‘friends’ abandoned me. Telling you this won’t fix things, I know, but you might gain strength by knowing I’ve been there too. And survived.

4. You can be friends with boys. Don’t worry about ‘boy germs’ for a while. You’ve got all the time in the world to play games with boys when you’re older. Right now, just appreciate the fact that boys are interested in things other than princesses and brides, and that it can be fun to be friends with people who are interested in different things than you.

5. Try everything. Even if it seems scary or dull or not quite pink enough, give it a go. I used to think I wouldn’t be able to write poetry. The first thing I ever published was a poem. If you try everything, you’ll find your poetry.

6. You have a wonderful and vivid imagination. Share it with people. Some of them won’t understand; let them go. Others will revel in it. Revel with them.

7. You’ll have days when you spill your lunch on your dress, you get a blister because your shoes are too tight, the teacher is grumpy, you’re learning about dinosaurs for the third time since pre-kindy and someone else takes the book you want from the library. Cry. Then curl up in bed with Teddy and dream the day away. Dreams make everything better.

8. If you promise to tell me about your adventures, I promise to listen. Always.

9. I’ll miss you when you’re not here every day. You’re my baby, even though you’re a big girl. Sometimes I might forget and treat you like you are still a baby. I’m sorry if I do. It’s just that sometimes you grow faster than I can let go.


  1. Maureen Gibbons


    You’ve really captured the feelings and vulnerabilities of a mother whose daughter is taking her first big step into the world outside of home. You’ve also tapped into the joys of discovery that learning to read will make available to your daughter.

    As a grandmother, I identify with all of your sentiments. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Maureen – it’s just hard to think that she will now spend almost more of her time at school than she will at home with me. I think it’s also an issue of trust – I need to trust that the teachers will help her develop just as well (or better probably) than I think I can help her to develop!

  3. My eldest has just started kindy and I see her life stretching in front on her. I think Maureen summed it up perfectly when she said you have captured the vulnerability of being a mother. Letting go, is that the hardest thing parents have to do?
    Thank you for a beautiful blog.

  4. Thank you Shannon and yes, I think you’re right. Letting go is definitely the hardest thing. I wonder if it gets any easier – I’ve got two more to send off to school over the next couple of years and I’m sure I’ll probably feel exactly the same when it’s their turn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: