What kind of question is that?


Today I’m going to let off some steam. Lots of steam, in fact. (I suppose this is all Mr. Toddler’s fault: he has been misbehaving, which has lead my subconscious to pick out this subject… but let’s not digress). So, it’s like this: although my son isn’t going to school before next year, I have already been asked several times which of us will cry more when he does leave his Mummy in order to integrate the public education system.

My first reaction was confusion, as I earnestly tried to imagine the scene and figure out the probability of one (or both) of us bursting into tears. A little figure with a big backpack sobbing inconsolably as the heavy school doors close in the face of his loving mother, waving frantically and shouting words of encouragement in order not to break down herself… Or the same little figure running happily away from his smiling Mum and to the new and exciting world of learning… Or?

My second reaction was: “WTF? What king of question is that?” Do you want to know if I love my child enough to cry when he’s not at home 24/7? Or if I’m so sick and tired of his presence that I’ll dance with joy when he disappears behind that door? And why, in the first place, do you make it your business at all?

I understand that today, as you see this boy clinging to my leg like a mussel to its rock, you might wonder if he’ll ever be able to walk by himself, but let me assure you: he will. In fact, he already does, just leave him a couple of minutes to get accustomed to the new environment. It’s normal that he runs to me for help and protection: I’m his primary caretaker and the one who understands him best. When I tell him I’m busy he goes with his questions to Daddy or one of his elders and I’m sure that he will learn to trust his teachers and seek their assistance if necessary. Growing up means broadening one’s social circle and my son will do it in due time. Now, going back to your question: I cannot tell you if I’ll cry when he goes to school, or if he will. People cry for many reasons, and some cry more than others. I’m not very sentimental but I’ll probably need a Kleenex because I’ll be so proud of my big boy and he will probably need some consolation when he learns that Mum cannot stay in class with him. I hope you’re satisfied with my answer. And now, instead of posing silly questions, why don’t you ask me if I want to have some coffee before this boy lets go of my leg and sprints away like he always does? Oh, too late! – now I must run catch him!

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