Dubbo families face first-day jitters

A CALENDAR on the Brightman's fridge marks down the days until the family's youngest member, Jackson, starts his first official day at Dubbo Central.

For this bubbly five-year-old the last week has been an excitement-laden time filled with trying on new shoes, parading around in his crisply-pressed school uniform for the family, and counting down the sleeps - like a child waiting for Santa - until the beginning of his first day in kindergarten.

Jackson's just a little fish in very big pond, according to his mother, Jodie, who despite having two elder step-children has never experienced sending a little one off on their first big step into the big, wide world.

"We're all excited, but I don't think I'm anywhere near as thrilled about it as Jackson," Ms Brightman.

"Oh my God, I've been trying not to think about it. I can feel the tears welling up as we speak."

A miracle baby thanks to the wonder of modern IVF treatment, Jackson is Jodie and partner, Adam's, only child together. She has personally watched Adam's eldest children Sarah, 19, and Sam, 17 make the transition from childhood into young adults, but admits nothing has quite prepared her for the inevitable transition of their youngest from home life to school.

Though Jackson's been in part-time daycare since the age of six months, the thought of only having her "baby" running around the house on weekends is an alien concept for Jodie.

"Adam keeps laughing at me, but he's been through this before. I know a lot of parents like to talk up their children, but Jackson's always been a very confident little kid, so I know he won't have problems making friends or fitting in.

"It's all the different dangers that frighten me, like making sure he remembers to look left and right before crossing the road outside the school, or remembering not to talk to strangers... as a parent you drum those sorts of things into your children but it's not until you send them off that you really begin to worry about it," she said.

"I don't think Jackson will have problems with me leaving him at school that first morning. I'm pretty sure though when I'm alone I'll have a cry to myself."

Despite her reserved anxiety, the start of Jackson's schooling life is also a time teeming with an endless array of new possibilities and experiences, for Jodie and Adam included.

"I'm looking forward to when we can watch Jackson in his first game of soccer, or see him race in his first swimming carnival... it's those little things as a mum you look forward to and cherish," she said.

But until the start of the new school year, each day is marked by plenty more magical little moments, not to mention a couple more crosses through the days on the calendar.

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