Getting backpack ready for school

First day of school, ever. An important moment for a child, maybe he will never forget it. I remember that when I was a kid it was common to take a picture to create a memory that shall not be forgotten. To be fair, I remember very little of that day, and what I remember is connected to the feeling of abandonment I lived when my mother left the classroom on that first day. I had tears in my eyes, and even though I had friends I knew very well sitting next to me, I felt very lonely. I remember that my mother lied to me that day. She told me she would only exit for a few minutes to talk to the school director and to get me my books; instead, I only saw her again at the gate once the day was over and the teacher had accompanied us out. I am totally aware that my mum’s gesture was meant to protect me. She was honestly trying to help me get through a moment of detachment without causing me too much pain. If she had told me “now I have to leave, see you at lunch time”, I would certainly have started crying my eyes out, imploring her to take me with her. I guess I was that kind of child that clings on to their mothers. I do not like now to believe I was so needy. However, there must have been something that went wrong if I was a clingy child, and that had to be on my parents. I love them, I really do, but a child cannot be blamed.

As a mother, now, I was determined to ensure my child would not live those emotions. My child is, alas, like how I was. Having been thinking about this moment for a while, I had come up with an idea of slowly guiding my child into independence. So, I started talking about school, about how it is like, (good things clearly) and to further fight resistance from her side, I introduced the theme of backpack for school.

I told her how important backpacks for school are because they contain a person’s life and personality. I told her that she would have an important mission: to choose the right backpack for her. I made it clear that it was so important that she would have to be very serious about it. Because that would make her feel safe in any situation, reminding her of who she is. 

We went together to the shop and walked through aisles full of colourful backpacks for school and that little human surprised me for her dignity and concentration. When she found what she considered fine, she called me. I asked why that one, and she showed me a little pocket on top. She said, “we’ll put in here the magic that will keep me safe”. I was stunned, both by her intelligence and by the realisation I had actually managed to have her overcome her fears.

The first day of school arrived, and she walked through her classroom door with a bit of shame mixed with worry, but she looked at her backpack for school, and smiled. She then told me “you can go mum”.

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