I sat in my bed yesterday morning cradling a bowl of cereal, looked out the window and breathed for what felt like the first time in 7 weeks.
This has to have been the busiest half term I can remember. But also the most fun. It’s been like 3 Christmases one after the other: Concerts, farewells, presents, cards, parties.
Songs from last night’s surprise party kept looping through my head – the party that the mums laid on at the last minute for my daughter’s class on their last day. It was a party as much for the parents as the kids. And we had a ball. Nothing fancy: a community hall, a field, lots of tunes, more nibbles than anyone needed, even more alcohol, a bouncy castle, many bouncy parents, some silly hats and an impromptu photo booth and some last minute fireworks (that someone said had been “hanging around in their sitting room for months” !!!!)
The highlight had to be the moment when one of the girls pleaded with her mother to stop dancing in such an embarrassing way, just as we’d started dancing (and singing very loudly ) to “Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball“! I was surprised it wasn’t my daughter pleading with me. But then she’s quite used to me being embarrassing….
As we packed away, the tears flowed freely from over-tired, emotionally fraught 11 year olds, they said their farewells, we packed up and…. I ran into the car park barrier. Its fine, I was unscathed, just felt a right idiot for not seeing it – although it was painted black with no street lights above it. I digress. Despite being the only child who wasn’t crying, my daughter was very sad. “But you’ll be chatting to each other on What’s App tomorrow anyway,” I reminded my daughter. “When I left Primary school, that was it. We didn’t see each other again unless we went to the same secondary school”
How things have changed. We had a leavers assembly and that was it. As my daughter walked around yesterday in a dizzy fog, a rogue thought flitted across my mind that maybe there’s been a tiny bit too much hype. She’s exhausted.
But then, this is a very significant moment; a rite of passage that is extraordinary for each person going through it, yet ordinary in that everyone goes through it.
Parents have watched their children go from their first day at school, through to this last day, 7 years later. From ‘letting go of apron strings’ to running off to town in a big group. Some have made deep friendships, but all of us have a bond that comes from our children growing up together, greeting each other hello and goodbye everyday of the year for seven years, come rain or shine, snow or hail. We joined the school toward the end of infants, so we don’t have quite that same bond (which could explain why my daughter didn’t cry) but its still a wrench for my daughter to leave a place where she’s been very happy. And once my son leaves, I’ll find it a huge wrench too. They’re a fab bunch of parents.
The thing is my daughter isn’t desperate to move on. She’s one of the younger ones in her year, without an older sibling to have shone a light on what lies ahead. She’s not that nervous about secondary school (I don’t think she’s had much time to think about it to be honest), she’s just happy enough where she is. She is certainly looking forward to a new challenge and making new friends, that much she’s said. But we’ll have to see – she may rise to the whole thing in a way that surprises me….. in the meantime, here’s to a darn good rest!