Friday, July 23, 2010

The Last Day at Junior School

It is the Bright-Eyed Boy's last day of junior school today, and I am besieged by a lot of different emotions.

Sorrow - he is the last of my children, and his passage to senior school signals pretty much the end of his childhood and the intimate ties that have bound us for the last eleven years.

Joy - that he has had such a happy start to his scholastic career (even with the minor wobble when he had his anxiety attacks last autumn) in a caring and supportive environment and is blossoming into a lovely fellow.

Relief - that the monotony of the school-run (through a less than salubrious neighbourhood) has finally ended, and we no longer have to negotiate sullen dead-eyed youths and feral dogs on the walk to school.

Nostalgia - that in a few months time I will be remembering the school nativity plays, parents' evenings and trips out in a golden haze - I am doing that even now!

Anxiety - that he won't find the transition to 'big school' the adventure he currently imagines it to be and becomes unhappy.

Trepidation - now that I have two extra hours tacked onto either end of my working day, will I acquit myself of my academic duties, or am I (as I suspect) a complete lightweight.

Worry - that he won't be able to manage to crosss the roads safely, tie shoe-laces, catch the bus home etc.

Fondness - for all the others parents who I've been seeing on and off for the past seven years, and for some of whom this is also the last day at the school gate.

Life goes so quickly - too quickly - and I am reminded of the feeling I get when I return from holiday, that I could have enjoyed it all so much better if I'd put in a bit more effort, concentrated on enjoying the moment rather than looking aheat to what was next on the schedule.
I feel that way about their childhood. I was always so selfishly caught up in how difficult I found it to be a mother that I often wished it away, wished they were older, more independent. I never took into account how difficult it must be to negotiate the business of growing up. The little things were left unnoticed, swept away in my haste to get it all over with, to move on. I look at the childish cartoons on the fridge, the old school photos, the discarded toys and heartily wish -oh wish so much! - I could re-run the last thirteen years (since Daughter #3 was born) and do it all again but BETTER. Do it for them, not me! Regret is a terrible, heart-churning thing!

I shall try my hardest to be a better mum to them as they get older - God knows, they deserve it. They are great children and I am so proud of them and love them all so much. I have been given a great gift in my family, and it behoves me to treat it like the jewel it is.

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