An open letter to my child on their first day of school

Daughters and mother

To my little love,

I know if you were reading this you’d loudly object to me calling you little. “I’m a BIG kid,” you’d declare. But the truth is, you’ll always be my little one.

Your first day of school is here and you’re so excited. Your new uniform – bought to fit you through the growth spurts that will happen this coming year – makes you look tiny again. You’re like my little big kid: so small in a big new world, but filled with enough enthusiasm to see you through.

You’ve been looking forward to this for so long. Remember when you finished your first day of preschool and you proudly declared, “Kinder’s done! Now I can go to school.” Yep, it’s been a long wait for you.

For me, though, it feels like time has got away

In those early days of your life I didn’t quite know how to pass the time.

You’d be lying in my arms crying, while I wished we could skip past this bit to a better stage where you were happier. Time crawled through those months, and looking back it feels like we spent years clinging to each other in tears wishing it would pass.

Then came the toddler years, when we’d do five hundred activities together and then I’d look at the clock with a big sigh because it was only 9am and I’d run out of ideas.

Now, it’s all rushing by too fast.

YOU’RE rushing too fast – I can hardly stop you for long enough to get a cuddle, and it almost makes me want to go back to those long hours of cuddles, even if just for a day. Instead, we’re here and I’ll soak it up, because I know now how quickly the years seem to disappear when we look back.

You’re so excited for this day. You can feel it as much as I can, that this is the first big step on your big life adventure. You want to be a nurse when you grow up, you say, and although that feels like a long way away – and there’s so much to learn between now and then – it all starts now. Whether you keep that dream or follow another, this is the day that sets it all into motion.

Your excitement is contagious

Although this day is a little bittersweet for me, I have a smile on my face that mirrors your own. I hope you take this elation you’re feeling, and that we’re feeling on your behalf, and use it to power you through what’s going to be a big year.

Yes, it will be an enormous year: you’re going to make new friends, go on adventures, become even more independent than you already are, and learn new things.

You’re going to learn things that aren’t in any books. You’re going to learn to let go of my hand at the gate, that friends make life sweeter than ever, and that not everyone will be your bestie – and that’s okay. You’re going to learn that your family has your back, that some things are fun and others are plain hard work, and that curiosity will guide you to learn more than you’ve ever imagined.

I can’t wait to watch you absorb all the things school has in store for you. Those lucky teachers of yours are getting an enthusiastic, bright spark in their class, and I’ll be here ready to help in any way I can.

And you – well, you’ve got this.

With all my love,

Mum xx

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