I saw my daughter off for her first day of school this week. My precious princess. My little heartbreaker.
As she pranced about modelling her new school uniform, the gorgeous smiling face told me she was done with kindergarten and staying at home with dad. My little girl was moving on, leaving her father behind.
Has it really been five years since her tiny fist was wrapped around my little finger?
When I jokingly suggested that she stay at home another year because daddy will miss her she looked mortified. But then she put an arm around me: “You’ll be all right daddy, you’ll still see me in the mornings and after school”. Oh, what a darling!
Try as you might it is just not possible to view your child objectively. My newly arrived baby girl appeared like an angel while other people’s shrivelled newborn offerings looked like something you’d find in a reptile egg.
It won’t be long now before I’m greeted at the door by brash teenage boys carrying names like Stirling, Stetson, Colt and Cooper.
I remember standing outside doors and being petrified at the prospect of confronting the fathers of girls. Some of those doors, in bad neighbourhoods, were hanging off their hinges and I braced myself for a dad with a tattoo sleeve and a long can of Woodstock and Cola.
Other entrances I trembled in front of were made of solid oak, letting no internal sounds out; the silence intensifying the drama. The working class fathers were eager to know that you weren’t “up yourself” while the wealthy ones interviewed you in gilded living rooms filled with antique clocks.
Girls, with their social ease and greater command of language, seem to enjoy the beginning of school life more than boys. My little darling, dwarfed by an enormous backpack that`contains her all-food-groups lunch of ham, avocado sandwiches, carrots, yoghurt and apricots (the stale Vegemite sandwiches and powdery apples I grew up on are definitely things of the past), strides confidently towards the slightly imposing school building.
I think in the future she’ll be the one presenting herself at doors, and asking: “Now where’s that cute son of yours hiding?”