On the threshold

So. This is it. This week my family’s lives change forever; DD starts school on Wednesday and our cosy time as a preschool family comes to an end. But before that comes another big change as DH starts work tomorrow after 14 months unemployed.

In practical terms we’re ready. DD’s school uniform is bought, washed and named; the ridiculously oversized Spiderman backpack that she begged to have as her schoolbag is ready; DH’s shirts are washed and hung up, ready for the week ahead.

Surprisingly enough I think we’re almost mentally prepared too. DD is still nervous about school, although she’s looking forward to playing on all the cool stuff in the special Reception playground again (we didn’t have climbing frames, tricycles and mini racetracks when I was at school!). I’m nervous too – I know I’m going to miss her dreadfully, even though as a summer baby she’ll only be going for the mornings at first. I’m going to miss DH as well, I’ve enjoyed having him at home and his presence has helped me to cope better than I otherwise might have done. My anxiety is going full throttle but I’m mostly able to mute it to an annoying buzz.

However, part of me is looking forward to the challenge. I’m looking forward to having proper one-to-one time with DS, and maybe even finding a half decent toddler group to take him to while DD’s at school. I’m looking forward to having some routine to our lives again. I’m feeling more socially acceptable; while DH was unemployed I felt like a lazy, benefits-claiming stereotype despite the fact that I am unfit for work at the moment. Now I feel as though my position as a stay-at-home parent is more justified, that I am going to be pulling my weight properly in this family instead of coasting along relying on DH.

Over the last few days, as we’ve put the finishing touches to DD’s pirate-themed bedroom and gone on a family day out, I’ve even felt happy. Right now though I feel nervous. Scared. Sad. But I also feel cautiously optimistic and strangely hopeful. It’s as though there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I think and hope that this is the start of a positive new chapter in our lives, that in years to come we’ll look back and say “That’s when we started to get back on our feet, when things finally started to improve”.

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