Opinion with Matthew Munson: The joys of school life and embarking on new journeys

Bryan sports his School Council badge

Bryan is feeling pleased with himself this week; he has been given a lovely, shiny badge at school with “SCHOOL COUNCIL” emblazoned across it. He wears it everywhere, although I did nix the idea that he attach it to his pyjamas; it even travelled with us last weekend when we visited his brother and sister.

It’s lovely to see Bryan so excited; he adores school, as it’s always been a safe and comfortable environment for him. I am incredibly fortunate; I’ve never had to argue with him about going to school, even if it’s occasionally taken me twenty minutes to get him out of bed and moving.

I was the same at school; always keen to go and always willing to help out. There are various jobs available in Bryan’s classroom, and I suspect he would take on every single one if he were allowed. I sincerely hope that he keeps that passion and that interest when he moves to secondary school.

Speaking of secondary school, there’s only a month to go until we find out what secondary school he goes to. There’s a good chance he will get his first choice; because he was once in care, he gets pushed higher up the list. If it helps him get to where he wants to go, then I’m certainly not going to object.

It doesn’t seem to have fully sunk in that he will soon be moving schools; it’s eight months until he starts, and that’s forever to a child. But I realise it, so I’m desperately trying to document little moments for him; we have a good relationship, and he tells me pretty much everything on the way home from school. I hear about the lessons, his friendship circles, his lunch … our walk home takes twenty minutes, and that discussion takes up most of it. I’m trying to save little stories of things that are clearly important to him, so that he can remember them later.

That’s not the same as being there, of course, and I know he’ll miss his primary school terribly; it’s done him proud, even though he’s only been there since Year 3. That move was hard for him, of course, and this one will be too – although everyone will be moving, and some of his friends will undoubtedly go to the same school, so he’ll have some continuity.

The other morning, his grandparents were going to take him to school (I had an early train to catch); they live about 8-10 minutes down the road, so I suggested (with my heart in my mouth) that he might like to walk it by himself. He was off like a shot; what a responsibility! He loved it and, of course, there wasn’t a problem. I followed at a far distance, and he rang me half-way (his choice); he was thoroughly excited, although a bit wobbly for a brief second as something new happened for him. I was so proud, even though I was briefly nervous. I needn’t have been, of course; he’s sensible, and it’s as safe a route as any for him to try.

When I very first started going through the adoption process, I was absolutely certain I wanted to do it, but I was nervous as to how it would all go. Would my child like me? Would I be a decent father? How would I decide on the child I was going to “pick”? In a sense, he picked me – his face almost leapt out of the page when I first saw him – and I am confident in our relationship. Never have I regretted becoming a parent – not once; adoption is a big step, and it throws up a lot of emotion. But the reflection you get to do before you have a child placed with you really lets you think about your own emotions and reactions.

I’ll leave you with this; Bryan and I popped to ASDA after school and, whilst we were walking through the car park, he was appalled at the number of trollies having been left lying around. Bryan took it upon himself to collect as many trollies as he could and put them in a line; it was amazing to watch (and not, I confess, something I’d ever thought to do myself – I always put my own trolley back), and it just made me even more proud to be his dad.


  1. I look forward to Matthew’s column every week and it always makes me smile. When l think back to my childhood l haven’t got may happy memories and l wasn’t adopted, l think my parents just didn’t know how to show affection or give praise, so well done Matthew and l wish Brian well when he starts in the seniors.

  2. Matthew you and Bryan always look happy every time I see you walk past my home. And yws I am the man at the window lol that Bryan pointed out to you last week in Hardres Street.

    All the best to you both for the future.

    Scott-John Taylor

  3. Bryan has certainly changed since he first arrived at Munson Mansions. He now looks so smart and grown up. He will be ready for his secondary education in September. You must be so proud of him.

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