I still remember your first day, how alien the school run felt, how I worried about the food you would choose, if you would make any friends and if you would be ok. Watching you walk through that door and knowing from that point onwards our lives had changed forever. That the days of being able to pick and choose what we do and me knowing exactly what you are doing all of the time had gone.
After the first couple of weeks passed, it dawned on me that this was my life now, my days would be built around drop-off and collection times. School holidays, different days and events, and multiple school emails became permanent fixtures in our lives. As did the hunt for missing uniform.
I didn’t want you to start, I wanted to keep you at home, wrapped in its safety with us a little longer. But as with all things, life moves on and you grew in confidence and started to change on your way to the person you are now.
I didn’t know then, just how fast it would go. Seven years sounded like such a long time, a lifetime. But as I have learned rapidly as a mother, it isn’t. Suddenly you’re walking to school on your own, waving me off with a grin without a backward glance. The days when we held hands as we crossed the road, looking for cars together have passed. So many milestones have passed without me even realising. I can’t remember the last bedtime story I read to you, the last time I sang you to sleep, or the last time you crawled into our bed for sneaky cuddles.
I’m not going to watch you run through the gates again, your bag bobbing on your shoulder, your coat dragging behind you. I know I have to let you go and I am so immensely proud of the person you are becoming, but there is a part of me that wants to grab you with both hands, hold onto you tight and shout at time to slow down, to give us more time to do the little things. The nativities, the sports days, the moments where I take a flannel and mop the chocolate or ice cream off your face.
Time is a fickle old thing when you’re a parent, some days it’s exhausting and unrelenting, it feels like it crawls at an unbearable snail’s pace when all you want to do is sleep. But in reality, it’s fast and runs at the pace of a freight train, chugging past each station, or milestone at an unstoppable speed.
And so we reach this next big milestone, this is one I will remember and hold in my heart. There are tears in my eyes as I write this because once again it feels like it has come too fast and I just can’t keep up. I want you to grow and bloom and even if at times it hurts my heart to see you fly just a little further away, I know it’s right for you to do so.
I simultaneously miss the boy you were and love the man you are becoming. My pride and love for you beats inside my heart, like its own living entity.
It’s been 7 years since you started school and in another 7 you will be a legal adult. I now know just how fast this time will go, but also it feels unfathomable.
A friend described motherhood as ripping your heart out of your chest and watching your child walk around with it. And I think that it describes it perfectly. So always know as you grow and become more and more independent that a piece of my heart will always be with you. I will cry when you cry, hurt when you hurt and love you with everything I am. I feel a little sad as this day arrives, but it is also wonderful and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Fly onto your next adventure, leaving a piece of your childhood behind. It is time to let it go now, and time for me to let to go a little more too, so that you can become the person you are meant to be.