Reading yesterday’s post has made me feel like a proper misery guts. I wish I didn’t struggle so much at this time of the year but there is no getting away from it. I just do. Even on the relatively ‘easy’ years of just going back to school after summer I struggle. Never mind on a year like this one where it is all change for just about all of us. With my eldest now working full-time after being taken on after his apprenticeship, my second starting uni after the stress of results day, my third starting secondary school and my youngest hurdling towards the end of junior school – it’s a lot to take in.
There is no getting away from the fact that none of us feel quite ready for my eleven year old to start secondary school. Yes it is a big deal even the third time around. One thing is for sure, knowing what lies ahead has seen me hold her that little bit tighter this summer. I hope with all my heart and I will do all that I possibly can to make sure that she happily settles into secondary school life but it felt more important than ever to have a lovely summer. We’ve had as much fun and silliness as we could fit into every single day. Saying yes to ice cream for lunch because why not? Spending an hour longer than planned playing at the park. Turning the kitchen into a cocktail (mocktail?) bar because how else would you want to spend a rainy Tuesday? And that was just in the last few days. It has been the summer of saying yes. And we have all loved every minute of it.
Anyway, we had done all of the sensible back to school shopping at the start of the summer. We had even done the not so sensible stationery and new backpack shopping. So the only thing we had left to buy last week was school shoes for both my eleven year old and nine year old. Off we went to Clarks to have them measured and they both have the same size feet for the first time even though there is two years between them?! And needless to say, they both chose the exact same pair of patent brogues! Ha! That’s my girls!
My eleven year old didn’t need any new trainers as we bought her some new ones just before summer but her little sister did and she really wanted some Sketchers. They are what all the cool kids have apparently, Nike are so last year. Anyway we were looking in the shop at row after row of the brightest sparkliest trainers you have ever seen in your life and our nine year old chose a pair of pink trainers that I swear you could see from space. I noticed at this point that our eleven year old had gone really quiet and I said to her that she could choose some if there was any she fancied, even if she didn’t need them. I really didn’t want her to feel left out. But she sheepishly said that they were a bit a babyish for high school. So I said well let’s take a look anyway, maybe there were some that she could wear at home not for PE.
I took her by the hand (I’m making the most of that while she’ll let me!) and we managed to find these beauties. Holographic flying 3D unicorn? Tick. Dual coloured sparkly laces? Tick. Diamante encrusted? Tick. Flashing lights? Tick. Her smile from ear to ear? Tick tick tick! I couldn’t find her size fast enough to try on. It makes me sad to think that she already feels that moving to secondary school means that she might have to be more grownup in her choices. I want her to have whatever makes her happy but at the same time, I also understand that this is the start of her feeling the need to fit in. I whispered to her that she can be as grownup as she likes at school, but at home she has to promise to be just her. Sparkly unicorns and all. I think that made her feel so much better.
It’s such a huge time of change for them, isn’t it? It must be hard for them to find their feet. Although flashing lights might help. Ha! No I’m kidding and I know I’ve said it before, but starting secondary school really does feel like a line in the sand. Things will never quite be the same again and these might well be the last pair of silly trainers I ever get to buy her. There’s the time that comes before secondary school, and the time that comes after. The time of sparkling all singing and dancing unicorn shoes, and the time of something much more sensible. I’m enjoying the moment while it lasts. We’ve had a blast this summer. These daft shoes really were the sparkly icing on the cake.