I’m not sure how we have got here but this September will see us have our eldest child working full-time, our second child starting uni, our third child starting secondary and our youngest starting Year 5 in primary school. It feels like a lot to take in somehow and I can very much feel the clock ticking away towards the end of summer and the start of a whole new term looming.
The biggest change of all is actually our third child starting secondary school. I know I should be an expert at this having been here twice before but it is one of those steps that only seems to feel harder with experience. I think it is one of those things that depends on the child of course. I found this stage difficult with her elder brother and sister too but I worry about her in a different way I suppose. As you do. You could have ten kids and no two would be quite the same I’d bet my life on it.
There is a comfort in at least knowing the system. Secondary school is scary when it is all new to you. At least we can answer her practical questions. And I’m not going to lie, knowing the headteacher on first name terms makes me feel much better about the whole thing. Already having a connection to the school as it were. You just don’t have that every day contact in secondary school that you have in a primary school you and I think that feels alien for most parents. When we went to the transition meeting, there was one parent who had a whole list of questions typed out ready to ask and was studiously taking handwritten notes of every word being said. She was clearly as nervous as hell and who can blame her? But I took comfort in the fact that at least we are no longer those wet-behind-the-ears-first-time-secondary-school-parents anymore.
Of course, we might have the practical solutions covered but that doesn’t mean that it will be any less heart wrenching. Part of me feels like we are setting our baby amongst the wolves. I want to hide her under my skirts and never ever let her go. I don’t think I will ever feel ready for her to start secondary school. Not that I have told her that of course, I am nothing but beaming smiles and positive stories in front of her. The thing is though that she doesn’t feel ready to start secondary school either. She has been so brave about the whole thing and enjoyed her transition days but her nerves are beginning to take over her excitement. She is a sensitive little thing and really quite young for her age. I know a lot of kids genuinely are ready to embrace this step at eleven but she isn’t. All we can do is support her the best we can and be her biggest and loudest cheerleaders. She will be fine. Because I will make sure of it. But being realistic, I know that there might well be hard times ahead as she settles in. I could cry just typing this.
Anyone with children who have already made the step up to secondary school will agree I’m sure that things are never quite the same once they make that move. They will always be your baby. Well of course they will that goes without saying! But starting secondary school somehow feels like a line in the sand. The time that came before, and the time that comes after. Not that change is always a bad thing, I don’t mean that at all. But in a lot of ways this can feel like the start of the end of their childhood. Things will never quite be the same again. I’m just not sure that any of us are quite ready for that.