We are heading into the tail end of the year (how fast are the months flying by?). It’s one of those years with a “chapter closing”. You know the type, a life stage when you do things for “the last time”, when you know you won’t be going back.
Next year my youngest child heads off to high school. So for the next few months we will be saying goodbye to the primary school years. As I look at the Princess Child, all thin and gangly, with aching joints from the growth spurt which sees us looking eye-to-eye, it seems like just yesterday I was walking her into “big school”.
Now, as we pick out dresses for “graduation” I consider how things will be changing after Christmas. I think about the things I dread about my daughter starting high school.
1. There will be no more gathering with the gaggle of mums outside the classrooms. While I’ve done less and less of that lately there has still been the odd chance to catch up, to discover there’s a project due next week, that it’s out-of-uniform day tomorrow, and feel reassured by the fact everyone is arguing with their hormone challenged darlings!
2. No more opportunities to be in the classroom. It will no longer be a place calling for parent volunteers for listening to reading, helping out at maths groups or providing an extra pair of hands on excursions. There won’t be the possibility of observing my child and her classmates in their natural domain.
3. The kiss goodbye at morning drop-off will probably be discarded. The thing I love about Princess Child is no matter how frenzied the morning, no matter how much we may have argued she never gets out of the car without saying “love you mum” and planting a kiss on my cheek. I suspect that’s not going to be cool in the high-school car park!
4. My importance in her life will diminish. It’s only a matter of time before the influence of her friends will trump the boring mum.
5. In keeping with my diminishing importance, it won’t take long for her discover that all-knowing mum actually doesn’t have all the bases covered. I can’t help with textiles homework because I never learnt to sew, I don’t know the answers to Year 7 algebra, yes I did go to school, yes I did maths, but your brain can only hold so much information. By the time you hit your 40’s the old grey matter has performed a number of clean-up functions where it has deleted unnecessary information in order to make room for the important stuff required on a daily basis, like which bottle shop has my favourite wine on special this week.
6. There will be little I can do to change things I disagree with, school rules triumph over parental beliefs every time.
7. I won’t be able to “fix” everything. The hurts and troubles encountered won’t be cured with a band-aid and a cuddle. I will have to stand back, let her fight her own battles, find her way through the school yard politics and allow her to discover her own place within the emotion-charged hierarchy.
8. I will have to face the fact my baby is growing up.
(This morning’s post inspired by Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Prompt – which I adapted slightly to cater for the fact I’m in Australia and my kids haven’t been on holidays!)