My darling girl,
I cannot believe, a few short days ago, you started school.
You’ve only just turned 4 (I know, technically it was three weeks ago but still, you’re my baby). The last year has seen so much change for you. You’ve had a baby brother. Started pre-school. Learnt to count and write your own name (often backwards. But hey, I’m a proud mummy, I’m meant to sing your praises regardless of your ability). Started dressing yourself (and choosing your own clothes, a caveat I shout loudly whenever we bump into people unexpectedly and they do a double-take at whatever fabulous combination you’ve decided will best express your personality today).
You’ve become your own little person, capable of so much fun and laughter. Always up for being silly. Ready to run and climb and dance and laugh and sing without any thought for what people may think. An arch negotiator, your tantrums are slowly giving way to an ability to wheel and deal with the best of them (we should probably be sending you to negotiate Brexit rather than to school. I challenge any EU official to say no to your demands when you’re at your most persuasive).
My daughter, my first born, you’ve grown so much in the last year. But you’re still my baby (and you will still be my baby even when you’re old and grey, just FYI). I am not ready to let go of you, to wave goodbye at the school gates and leave you. I am so scared that school will change your spirit somehow. That endless homework or mean girls will turn you from a high-spirited ball of energy to someone I don’t recognise anymore. That teachers won’t see what I do, and will think of you as just another kid in their class; a statistic that will ether bolster or ruin their results, rather than a tiny human being full of potential.
I still remember the first time I picked you up from nursery after going back to work. You didn’t smell like mine anymore. You smelt different. What will school change about you? How much more will you grow away from me once you’re there?
But I know, deep down, that you will love school, as I did too. That you will make friendships that will see you through some of the best and worst of times. You will learn so much about the world from being there. You will revel in your new-found knowledge, and I will sit through endless games of ‘let’s play teacher’, watching with fascination as you act out your school day with your teddies. I know that this is the start of the most amazing adventure for you. I love you, and I have faith in you, and together we will conquer this mountain until it seems to be just another little bump in the road on this pretty amazing trip we’re taking. Go forth and conquer.
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