My Delicious Nephews start school today. Grade One. It feels like yesterday when I received the excited phone call to say that my sister was in labour. That night, and into the early hours of the 14th of July, 2009, the Siamese Princess and I watched a very long American History saga on TV, as I received message after message: ‘All fine, foetal heart monitors on’; ‘They’ve called the doctor, they’re going to Caesar her now’; ‘The doctor’s here. She’s going in’ and then that pic, the one that swelled my heart to bursting, of those two tiny, beautiful, boys.
And now they’re tall (and just as beautiful) and have lost their baby curls, replaced by little boy – school – haircuts. In the blink of an eye. It’s breath-taking, and I’m just the aunt! It made me think of my school career which was, as school careers go, a relatively painless sojourn. I was lucky. Let’s not kid – it wasn’t my favourite time of my life by any means, but it was survivable. For lots of people, it wasn’t, and that made me get all preachy (in my head) and soppy and want to write a letter.
As you head into the school system, I have some Aunt-ly advice. You probably don’t need it, because you’ve been (are being) brought up so brilliantly, and you’re more than ready for school, but indulge your old aunt, won’t you? You’re bright and beautiful and enquiring and interested. Don’t let the system change that, okay?
Do things. All the things. Try everything, at least once, with enthusiasm. Run, swim, debate, play chess, sing, dance, do high jump, learn to play an instrument, throw a shotput, try ballet, paint, count, do karate, learn how to type, grow things, do acrobatics, cook, join the drama society, learn trigonometry, play cricket, knit. Try it all, so that you can pick what your favourites are. And in between it all, read, fiction and non-fiction and everything between. And write.
There’ll be kids (and maybe even some teachers) who are nasty to you. Don’t let it get to you. You’re bigger and better than that. Beat nastiness with niceness (and I don’t mean the smarmy kind). Leave nastiness behind, read those books, look up into the trees. Sometimes people will be nasty to other kids. Be kind to those kids, they need you. And the kids who’re nasty? They need you too.
Share your sandwiches. And your swimming towel. And your books. And your love. That purple dinosaur from when you were little-little wasn’t wrong. Sharing really is caring. And if you get sad or scared, we’re all here, always. You’re going to learn so many things and do so many things – it’s very, very exciting! The world is totally your oyster at this point and we’re behind you.
Most important of all, have fun, delicious boys, and don’t forget to play. School can get terribly serious sometimes and playing is as important. In fact, it’s even more important. And cake. That’s important too.
You are so very loved,
Aunty Briony xxx