For the last couple of months it has been periodically hitting me (like a saucepan to the face), that Little B is coming to the end of her time at pre-school. And now her final week is here.
I won’t lie: she’s beyond ready for school and has been for a while now. But I’m not. In fact, I have never been less ready for anything in my life.
As I watched her enter pre-school for one of the final times this morning, I couldn’t help but remember that first day in January last year. It was was only a couple of months after her 3rd birthday and it was the first time I’d left her with anyone other than family. I was so anxious. How could they look after her as well as I did? What if she hurt herself? What if she just needed a cuddle from me and I wasn’t there for her?
As she walked into the cloakroom that morning, cardigan down to her knees and tunic down to her ankles, we helped her hang up her coat and then watched as she went straight over to the painting area. She never gave us a second glance and spent a lovely 3 hours painting, playing and singing. Her daddy and I, however, spent a highly fretful 3 hours in a nearby cafe, wondering if she’d remember to tell someone if she needed the toilet and whether she’d be able to manage the slide in the playground.
From that very first day onwards, she has absolutely loved pre-school. I have never once had to worry about leaving her, if she’d miss me, or if she’d be unhappy.
Perhaps that’s why the time has gone so quickly for me.
Because looking at her this morning, it seems that in the blink of an eye, her once-oversized uniform has become far too small for her. And almost overnight, that squidgy round face of 18 months ago has suddenly become much more defined and more like that of a 4 year old little girl than that of a toddler. My baby girl has been growing up and I barely noticed.
As she gets ready to move on to the next stage of her life, I know in my heart that school will be good for her and that I should be happy. I know how excited she is about it all, how ready she is and how she will thrive, but the truth is, I just wish time would slow down so I could hold onto my little girl for a bit longer. The days are going so quickly and I don’t want there to be a time when she no longer holds my hand in the mornings or when she doesn’t run up to me for a cuddle when she hasn’t seen me for a few hours. I don’t want her to ever stop asking me to sit in bed with her at night and read the same story to her, over and over again. I know my thoughts are selfish and that I have to let her grow and develop her independence, but I just don’t feel ready for it yet.
I wrote a post back in August last year about preparing for pre-school which included a paragraph on why we shouldn’t feel sad when our children make the move to preschool or school. We should look forward to it with them and be proud of the little person they’re growing up to be. And of course, I do look forward to it with her. I know she will have countless opportunities to try new things, to have new experiences and to make many new friends. I’m looking forward to seeing her flourish and I’m excited to see which direction her interests will take.
But another part of me knows that starting school signals the end of what has been a wonderful, precious chapter in our lives, and there’s nothing wrong with looking back on the last 4 and a half years and feeling a bit teary.
So with that in mind, I plan to allow myself to wallow for the next few days (and particularly during her graduation assembly where I’m likely to be a complete wreck!) before picking myself up, giving myself a shake, and getting myself ready to enjoy the next exciting chapter of Little B’s life.
But until then, someone please bring me tea, chocolate, and a huge box of tissues.
Is your child about to start school in September? How are you feeling about it? I’d love you to let me know in the comments.