J's theme this term at school is "Beginnings" and he is looking at and discovering newness and new life. The school has posters of new babies, chicks hatching from eggs and is leading up to the Advent preparations and the birth of Jesus (being a Catholic school this is a rather big time of the year). This school has also been a new "beginning" for J as he settles into new surroundings, meets new friends and adjusts to life away from his old home.
J has also done some "Goodbyes" in the last week - to his old home, his old school and has remembered some old friends.
We went to our old home last week to begin packing up books, toys, clothes, CDs, DVDs and family history papers in preparation for the move into a new house.
Leaving my old home in March was a traumatic time for me and a difficult time for J. Personal matters had escalated out of all control and I could no longer stay there. Obviously J had to be with me and I literally collected him from his school and drove 170 miles away to my parents. J and I have been there ever since.
For me (and I think for J) the biggest and most difficult aspect of this was removing J from his lovely little school where he was happy and settled. The school was our local one and we had no hesitation in choosing where to send J after a visit in his pre-school year. Not only did the head master take time out to show us around but he also squatted down to J's eye level in order to listen to him and answer a question (the only school we visited where this happened). I was really impressed and from that moment there was no doubt about where J would go to school.
J started in September 2007 and settled in quickly - his SPD was accepted and there were regular meetings with the school who seemed on top of everything. They were kind, sensitive and supportive.
Unfortunately about the time J started school a problem ocurred in my personal life, a problem which devastated me and left me reeling. I limped on for a few months but quickly went downhill. With the benefit of hindsight I can now see that I coasted through those few months in despair, frustration and hopelessness.
By January all I wanted to do was move back to be nearer my family and I began applying for jobs. J's Dad was very upset and angry with me and we went through days of barely speaking.
I was angry, upset and anxious about everything but my main concern was J and his lovely little school. As a young child I went through several changes of school following the breakdown of my parent's marriage and it was hugely disruptive so just about the last thing I wanted in the world was for J to experience the same disruption. However, life for me could not continue in the way it had and I needed so much the support of my family around me.
In March matters came to a head and I collected J from school and drove to my parents. It was a horrendous journey during which I nearly turned back several times. I cried most of the way about J, his school and the change he was about to face but I could not see any other way around it.
I rang J's school the next day and spoke to the lovely head teacher. I cried on the phone as I explained that J would not be returning, he was kind and supportive, assuring me of the school's committment to handover all of J's information to the new school and also that J would adjust better than I was expecting.
Seven months on I can see he was right - J has adjusted remarkably well and has made lots of new friends. At the moment he is busy listing all those he wants to invite for a "sleepover" once we get to the new house. There are more than 8 names so far.......
Last week we went back to J's old home, it was familiar, old toys were remembered and collected but J no longer calls it home. As we left J cried and said "I don't want to go home" and then asked if he could drive past his old school. I agreed with very mixed feelings but felt we should say goodbye as J had not really had the opportunity to do so when we left.
We drove down the hill, over the level crossing and past the white house - all markers on the way to school previously. As we reached the school J craned his neck to see his old classroom - "look - that's my old classroom and there's the playground". I suggested we say "Bye Bye" and J did quite happily. I cried but he did not - very telling. Who was attached to the old school ? It certainly was not J anymore.
My feelings now?
J loves his new school and so do I BUT it does not compare with the school he left in my opinion. It's bigger, less organised and J's SPD does not get the same close attention as a result. The school welcomes parents in with open arms (as did the previous school) but the communication is not as good.
On the other hand J runs in happily and all over the place I hear the happy calls of his friends urging him to come and play. It's a time of new beginnings for us as well - new home, new car (oh yes - the old banger is being replaced with a shiny new lease car) and finally J's cat will be joining us. We are walking into a new future .......