Dear Stanley…

Tomorrow will be your first day at school. Your uniform is ironed, everything is labelled and the obiligatory new bag and water bottle have been purchased.

YOU are ready.

You’ve even said ‘I’m ready for big school’ today but you’ve admitted to me that you’re a bit nervous. I’ve reassured you that everyone will be nervous including your teacher so it’s o.k because everyone will be starting together. You want to see your friends again and tell them all about what we have got up to during the holidays. I’ve just tucked you into bed and kissed my pre-schooler goodbye as tomorrow I will kiss my school boy hello on pick up. You’ve just given me the biggest cuddle and absolutely beamed when I called you my school boy, you’re excited now but trying to play it cool.

Tomorrow morning I’ll get you to the gates in plenty of time which will be no mean feat with James and Eli in tow but I will do it. It will soon become routine, second nature. Everytime I look at you I see my first baby, the one that made me wait and then got stuck on the way out, the one that filled me with love and terrified me at the same time.

I see that chubby 6 month old, with the rolls of fat on his arms and legs and wielding a piece of toast like it’s the best thing ever! I see that unsteady toddler in the back yard laughing his head off at Daddy splitting logs for the fire. I see that cheeky faced 2 year old shouting ‘don’t panic, don’t panic’ to Daddy when James was coming as we made our way towards the hospital. I see the chatty happy 3 year old on his ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ birthday paddling in the stream with Grandad, and the 4 year old rubbing my bump and singing to his littlest brother.

It was just me and you at home together for 2 years 8 months, something the other two have never experienced. For a while we did everything together, have been on plenty of adventures and had lots of sleepy snuggles. Just me and you. You’ve been my right hand man, finding nappies and giving cuddles. You’re the best big brother too, being both playmate and protector, with patience beyond your years.

You are so ready now, you get bored easily and get frustrated when James doesn’t understand what you are trying so hard to explain to him. You’re ready to learn, explore and find out who you are away from me and us. Recently your questions are endless, you are curious and intrigued with the world around you as you should be. You are so ready for school and I am more than ready to dial down the conversations about Rescue Bots (age appropriate transformers for those not in the know) for the majority of my day! But unfortunately you’ve passed your knowledge of this particular subject onto your willing apprentice James so there won’t be much of a reprieve!

I fought your corner when I knew you weren’t ready to start last year, being Summer born you seemed so small in comparison to your peers and it just felt wrong despite you doing well at pre-school, 4 was just too young! Another year of being at home, attending pre-school part-time, learning and exploring at your own pace was THE best decision I’ve ever made and gave you the time to bond with Eli too. Yes, you probably would have coped with school as you’re extremely resilient, but I didn’t want you to have to cope! I want you to thrive and enjoy everything that school has to offer, which I’m now confident you will. I will always fight your corner though Stan the Man, always…you can count on that!

You’re so ready for this next chapter in your life, and I know you will love it. The change in you this last year has been phenomenal. Your confidence has grown so much, you are a little ray of sunshine. You seem to make friends wherever we go! You are also sensitive and take things to heart, I know that losing Grandad your ‘best friend in the whole world’ as you remind me regularly, had a huge effect on you and at such a young age but you found the strength to get through it when you must have had a million questions that you couldn’t put into words. I hear you telling James stories about Grandad when you’re up in your bedroom, and you think I’m not listening. Grandad would have been so proud of you, and I know he would have loved the prospect of helping you with your homework. There was so much he could have taught you.

I am so excited for you Stanley. I’m looking forward to seeing you learn and grow into yourself, developing friendships that may well last a lifetime. I know you will try your best, you always do. You’ll be the oldest in your class and I know you will take the same caring and protective attitude you have at home to school with you. I’m sure you’ll be kind to others, and stand up for the little ones.

At the weekend we had a trying on session, and as I saw you standing there swamped in your new uniform with a smart new haircut, but the same goofy smile – my heart both swelled with pride and broke a little bit! I’m NOT ready! It’s such a milestone for you, I am on an emotional roller-coaster but will keep my self indulgent soppy mummy tears hidden, you’ll only see smiles and hear words of encouragement from me because that’s what you deserve.

This is my first step in letting you go, I will become more and more redundant as the years whizz by, and they really have whizzed by. Five years of you already! I blinked and suddenly my newborn is standing beside me talking about Rescue Bots (AGAIN!)

I hope you have the best day tomorrow sweetheart, I’d like to think the house will be quiet without you but you know, James is still here, so I very much doubt it!

I’ll be there to pick you up (always),

Love you,

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