Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A lesson from Ellie

This week’s news is that Ellie is moving school – more specifically, we are moving house and moving area which obviously means a new school and a new child minder. This is clearly big news and a big change.

My boyfriend and I decided it was the right time to move in together and join our two families into one, so we’d been gradually working through the practicalities of how we could make it happen.

I’ve been periodically talking to Ellie about moving house, about the possibility of us not living on our own anymore and about maybe changing schools – all in the hope that she knows what’s coming, feels prepared and has time to adjust to the change. Not huge conversations, but just little comments and discussions to get her used to the idea.

Then in the last 7 days we got the unexpected news that the school I wanted Ellie to go to, has a place for her. It’s unexpected because we’d been told that there was a long waiting list and I hadn’t even had confirmation from the council that we were on the list yet! We’ve also had an offer on our house. Suffices to say that by the end of October (2 weeks!) we’ll have moved house and Ellie will have started at a new school.

I went into a slight panic if I’m honest – how was I going to sort everything, how can I help Ellie to adjust and to settle. I’m not embarrassed to admit that despite the excitement I feel, I have also in fact had several weepy moments.

What’s really interesting is that everyone, literally everyone, from Ellie’s current head teacher, to my friends and even Ellie’s new school has given me the same line: ‘Ellie will be fine, children are resilient’.

I have to admit that I thought this sentence would be yet another piece of advice to go into the pot of totally annoying and unhelpful. But I have realised that they are right and more than that Ellie is considerably more resilient than I. This weekend my daughter taught me a lesson.

On our way back home from Ellie’s weekend with Daddy we had our usual chat about what she’d been doing, then I told her that the people who had seen our house were going to buy it. I went on to remind her that we were visiting her new school this week and that by the next time she saw Daddy she would have started there. She didn’t make any comment and the conversation moved on, so later I repeated the same information. At this point Ellie turned towards me, gave me a big grin and simply said ‘I know mummy, you told me that! I do listen to you!’ Ellie then chatted away about what was happening and demonstrated an amazing ability to a) listen and remember what I tell her (shocking I know!) and b) to focus on what she knows and not worry about the bits she doesn’t yet.

This was a watershed moment - I realised that actually Ellie does understand what this all means, knows that it’s happening and is, in the main, calm about it. Now we’ve a way to go and it remains to be seen if Ellie continues to take it all in her stride but, whilst I’m sure there will be some tense moments to come, I am beginning to think that she just might.

What has also dawned on me is that actually it’s me that’s finding the level and pace of change challenging and I need to accept the lesson that Ellie is teaching me and stop worrying quite so much. So here’s to the future – our new home, our new family and our new life.

 Sometimes our children really do teach us.

I can’t promise that I’m not a little stressed of course – I’ve still to sort out of school care!

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