Sunday, 5 September 2010

Empty Nests

My thoughts this week are with the many parents of little ones taking their first steps on the educational ladder. An anxious time ahead and one can but hope their sons or daughters will move through these first weeks well, without too many wobbles. I remember watching my daughter at four years, happily playing, and me feeling what I can only describe as utter dread at the prospect of having to send her to school. She liked her own space; she was imaginative, full of fun and still likely to take a nap early afternoon. I was not confident she’d take to it. Recognise that many children find the act of separation, at the moment when you turn to leave, hard to bear. Be prepared for that upset, ride it out and know that this will stop when the child feels more secure in their new environment.

Children who have been attending school for some time can be anxious about returning after the school break, perhaps worried about a new school, a new class; or new teacher, whichever the case, one can safely assume things will work out in the days ahead. Yet, on a more serious note in regard to children who worry about the bullies or the little ones who are still crying each morning after a month of school attendance is we should not promise that all is going to be ok. We should not suggest, and definitely not promise that the bullies will stop, or the phobia will go away. Parents should act. Teachers rarely do I’ve found. Parents should seek advice, and not necessarily from the school. Visit a national charity, which are providing an extremely worthwhile service, yet on a shoestring it seems. Also read this online article that debates whether school phobia is real or not

Not forgetting too, the parents seeing their teenagers off to university. Weeping privately and uncontrollably – away, somewhere, in the garden perhaps, while sons and daughters are shedding silent tears as they pack their cases upstairs. Everyone putting on a brave face as they cheerfully wave goodbye. And later after they’ve gone and you enter their now clean and tidy bedrooms; beds all neatly made. And the silence is unbearable. We tell ourselves that we must allow doors to softly close behind us. The wonder years are suddenly distant shadows and abandoned memories it seems. But they’ll be back! So I’m told. And as one door closes another opens. I’m told. But it’ll never be the same.

I have written a short poem called 'My Empty Nest' and I dedicate it to anyone who is feeling that emotional ties have suddenly been cut. 

My Empty Nest – By Debra Hall 
What time did it happen? 
It’s not as though I’d been in bed 
Which hour? 
Which minute? 
Which second exactly? 
Did it happen a lifetime ago? 
Was I hunched over? 
Was I standing tall? 
There was a cross - so sweet! 
One that I had to bear, 
But when I did so - It was divine.

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