It seems only yesterday that I was driving my wife and our newborn son home from hospital. That we were tucking him into his tiny cot, straining our ears that first sleepless night to hear for any noises of discomfort, even though he was only a foot away from the bed. That we cheered with delight at his first step, his first word.
Tomorrow, Mel and I are visiting James’s new school for the first time, for an informal get-together so we can meet and talk with the teachers who’ll be part of his life for his first year in the education system. It’s just half an hour in the middle of the day, but it feels like a pretty momentous event right now, partly because it makes it all feel real for the first time.
I’ll be honest, the whole idea of James going to school terrifies the bejesus out of me. He’s a really bright kid, and he’s absolutely more than ready for it, but as selfish as it sounds, I’m not really sure I am. He still seems so young and the protective dad in me wants to still be there for him, even though it won’t really be hugely different from him being looked after by Mel’s parents during the day, as is the case at the moment. In fact, I’ll be able to spend more time with him than before, as I’ll be walking him to school and collecting him at hometime. But the whole thing still feels incredibly surreal to me.
Tomorrow will be helpful in that I’ll be able to make that first step in accepting that he’s going there in September, and that he’ll almost certainly be well looked-after by those in charge of his care between the hours of 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday. But looking past that, I’m going to be left with a very sobering question: where in the almighty fuck did those four years and nine months go?