I Will Never Walk My Child To School

I’ll never walk my child to school

I get to buy him uniform. I get to pack him snacks for playtime and fill a bottle of fresh water for him. I get to buy him a nice warm winter coat, new footwear, and a nice new bag.

But I’ll never walk my child to school.

I’ll never get to wave to him as he joins his line for the first time. I’ll never get to say good morning to his friends, kiss him goodbye at the gate, exchange pleasantries with other parents or pop into the office with his forgotten pencil case.

I wish I could walk my child to school.

It’s not the biggest thing to want. It’s not expensive or overly time consuming or rare to see. I just want to hold his hand or walk beside him in the morning and at 3 o’clock like other parents get to do with their children.

I never had it at the nursery stage but somehow that didn’t seem quite as bad. He’ll grow up never seeing my face just before he enters school to be away from me for six hours. Whatever his day was like I won’t ever be the smile that greets him or the hand that takes his as he leaves school behind for another day.

He’s still young and he needs me. I should be walking him to school.

There’s a wonderful school so close to us. Not too big, not too small, with such a friendly, welcoming ethos. I should have been buying burgundy jumpers to match his sister and seeing him laugh with friends in the school playground minutes from my house. When I sit in the garden listening to the children in my daughter’s school play outside I close my eyes and dream that my son is there too, kicking a ball about, chatting to friends, sharing life.

Instead I say my goodbyes at the front gate handing my son over to strangers who change every academic year. I strap him in a car seat, kiss his tender little cheek and tell him I love him. He never waves back. He rarely even looks at me.

I long to walk him to school.

We would splash in puddles. We would laugh when the wind blows our umbrellas inside out. I would listen intently as he told me about his day, his lessons, and who was star of the week. He would nag me to leave him at the gate instead of the line as he got older and we would get excited in winter walking in snow and making footprints. I know this because I get to do all of that, and more, with his sister.

Walking your child to school is so much more than just a menial daily chore. It’s bonding with your child, giving them priceless security and routine, its allowing your child uninterrupted special time to de stress and transition from school to home. It’s being familiar with their school, knowing the office staff by name,smiling at their teacher and having a chance to sort things out quickly because you are right there where you should be.

Is it wrong that I want that for my son too?

To know he has arrived safely, to walk home myself feeling at peace, to know where he is and that he is safe, to feel comfortable with the people who are looking after him and teaching him.

I’ll never walk my child to school and that simple, everyday loss is so hard to deal with sometimes.

My son has complex needs so has to go by transport to school many miles from home. I correspond with the school via short sentences in a diary. I don’t know what door my child enters the school or exits or if he even lines up outside. I don’t get to see his playground, his friends, or the staff. I have to assume he has arrived safely and he is well even when the weather is awful or I hear of accidents on the route. I can’t pop in with a forgotten snack or a form and even when I call them my voice or name isn’t familiar.

I wish it was different but it’s not.

Please don’t take it for granted when you walk your child to school. Some parents, like me, will never know that simple joy.

Today is just another morning that I never walked my child to school.

7 thoughts on “I Will Never Walk My Child To School

  1. Thank you for writing this, and I’m so sorry you can’t do what to many parents seems ‘normal’ – and indeed may sometimes feel like a ‘chore’ or mundane.

    I confess I was feeling a bit grumpy today because my daughters have started at a new ‘super’ school and they’re doing things differently to how the old (now amalgamated) schools did things, including requiring parental collection to a much higher year group. Now I see what a blessing the routine can be for all of us (even if my daughters will moan at [many] times). Thank you for giving me perspective at just the right time.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This resonates with me as my older boy went by transport from five. Although I had my daughter I always felt it should have been three of us walking to school and back. Our school was closer so I did pop in and get to know the staff, I can imagine how much more difficult it would have been had I not had even that.
    My younger one is in the same school as his little sister, for now, and although it is chaos in the morning I love the fact that I get to drop them both. I get to see them safely in, I get a kiss goodbye and massive hugs when I pick them up. I missed that with Max and it still makes me sad.
    My heart aches for you and all parents in this situation. So many take it for granted when to us it would be such a massive blessing. X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I live close to several schools and I hear the chatter and chaos as they walk by whilst I wait for my child to come in the bus. I know this pain well.
    And I always wish every afternoon listening and watching to them all by my window that I wish I could do that too.
    I have to learn not to watch with jealous angry eyes and instead cope with envy- but it’s something I watch and work on every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had three years of walking my child to a school that didn’t suit his needs. It was traumatic for everyone . It was far from the experience you wish for or that I too longed for. This year, he started going to a different school by taxi, one much more suited to him. I don’t miss the school run with my own child, the grass is not greener in this instance for me.

    Like

    • I absolutely understand that. I just wish mainstream was right for my son, that he could talk to me as his sister talks to me and that I could enjoy the walk with both my children rather than one.
      I wish your son well in his new school.

      Like

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