I’ve been putting off writing this because I don’t even know where to start. In a way, I wish I had just written it anyway. Proper old skool diary style blogging, you know? But the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions and I’ve been too busy feeling all of the feels instead of writing all the words. My eleven year old leaves primary school next week. You’d think I’d be better at handling it the third time around, wouldn’t you? But no, I’m not. I should be writing my top ten survival tips or something. Surely I should be the one reassuring other parents facing this step for the first time with my words of wisdom? But the truth is that I’ve been an absolute wreck and we don’t even break up until next week.
It was about a month ago now that it really hit me. Year 6 is always such a busy year anyway I find but all of a sudden all of these dates in my diary that felt like forever away were actually upon us. It was actually happening. My little girl was leaving primary school forever and how could I possibly help her with the transition when I just wasn’t ready myself? Of course my anxieties are not just my own, they were very much wrapped up in her worries. What’s that saying about only ever being as happy as your unhappiest child? I’m obviously quite biased but my daughter is hands down the sweetest little girl you could ever meet. She is incredibly sensitive and that means changes like this that don’t come easily for her. As a parent it’s absolutely heartbreaking when you can’t magically wave all of their worries away.
She visited secondary school for a couple of transition days and she was an absolute superstar. She likes to know exactly what is happening when and doesn’t handle change very well at all and obviously I didn’t have all of the answers, I just had to trust that the school that has previously taken such good care of her big brother and sister would look after her as well. And they did. She came running out with the biggest smile on her face no longer anxious about starting in September but actually excited. I can’t stress enough what a huge deal this was for her. We were so incredibly proud of how she handled it all.
Then over the last couple of weeks we have had all of the lasts too. Last sports day, last swimming lesson, end of year report, leavers show, leavers disco… Actually the disco isn’t until tomorrow and her last disco will be her first. She has never wanted to go to school discos before because she really doesn’t like loud music and fuss but she is determined that she will go along to this last one. It’s a big deal for her to go and I think she’ll be glad she did. In fact I know she will be.
Last night though we went along to see her leavers show and beforehand she said that she felt so sick with nerves that she thought her heart was going to fall out of her mouth. My baby! She only had a small part in the play but I’m so proud of her for getting up there and doing it. Within a minute of being up on the stage you could see her physically relax and enjoy it. I would never force her to do something that she really didn’t want to and it can be really hard pushing her out of her comfort zone but we knew that she could do it. And she did. And she was rightly very proud of her little self.
I had to fight back the tears the whole time she was up on the stage. I was scared that she would see me and it would upset her too so I plastered on a big brave smile. Seriously, I’m the lunatic mother who cries at harvest festival assemblies so I don’t know how I held it together. Well, until the end that is. I was doing so well but as they sang their final song, on the screen behind them they were showing ‘then and now’ photos of the children from the their first day at school and it caught me completely off guard. I’ve known most of these kids since they were three years old and now they’re going off to secondary school. Man alive did I cry. But my big brave girl was stood laughing at me with her pal. Which in turn made me cry even more.
I know that most kids just take these things in their stride. Most of them are ready to move up to secondary school even if their parents are not. But she really isn’t like most kids. And this is not about me not being ready. It has taken a lot of work behind the scenes to stamp out her anxieties so she can face all of these lasts and actually look forward to the firsts to come. Maybe that’s why I’m finding it all so difficult? Because I know just how hard it is for her to step out of her comfort zone on so many levels as she gets ready to leave primary school. I’ve always found the jump to secondary school the biggest and scariest of them all, it is such an incredibly emotional time but even more so for her. Pass the tissues!