Next week this time, it will be chaos around the house. Your dad and I will be running helter-skelter trying to get you ready in time for your first day at school. Like parents around the country, Appa and I will be making sure that your uniform are ironed, your lunch box packed, your shoes polished, your hair combed, your teeth brushed...my head swirls even as I think of all the chores to be done. And there are all the instructions we need to give you. Raise your hand when you need to use the toilet. Finish all your lunch. Don't play rough in the playground. Listen to what your teacher says. Don't talk during class...but despite all my worries, I'm excited for you. I don't see it as the end of a carefree chapter as much as the beginning of a significant period of your life.
Soon your days will be dictated by the school calendar. And you will settle into a comfortable routine of school days and weekends. Your vocabulary will swell and you will make new friends. You will learn to read and to write. You will be embarrassed of me and Appa and banish us from talking to your friends. For our part, we will dread going to the PTA meetings and we will pray that your teacher will have nothing to complain about your behaviour. There will be PE injuries and head lice to contend with. Lunch menus to think of. Summer uniforms to sort out. Holiday camps to enrol to...
But somewhere amidst the chaos of such tumultous change, I will miss our time together. All these years when I didn't have to share your days with the school. When I could let you stay awake and watch TV and not worry that you will wake up late for school the next morning. When we could go on a holiday in May because we felt like it. Or ride the local train on a Tuesday morning on a whim. I will miss you, kutty-ma.
And it's not going to be easy for us watching you go through the school gate for the first time. But we will walk away knowing that our little one is in safe hands. And will be running home to us in just over six hours' time.