We strolled into the school playground, my eldest daughter laden up with bags. The only bags I carried were the ones under my eyes from sleepless nights, worrying about letting my little girl go.
The first goodbye
It is easy to think of the beginning of school as the end of an era. The pre-school days are over. The late starts, afternoon naps and lazy mornings at home. But more than that, it is a glimpse of a time when you will no longer be needed.
We walked together to her line in the playground. Parents were milling around, waiting until the last moment to leave them. But not me. I put her in the line, where she weighed up the other children and told me to go.
I found myself a quiet corner and waited, making sure she really didn’t need me. After a few minutes, the children walked past us on their way into the classroom. She broke away from her line to give me a kiss goodbye, before running back to catch up.
She smiled as she turned away, heading off for a new beginning without looking back.
It seems like only yesterday that I was waving her off for that first day at school. And yet, a whole year has passed in the blink of an eye.
That little girl who didn’t give me a second glance still needs me. She a happy, confident little soul who brought home a glowing school report. But she is still a little girl who needs her mum.
And I know that as time goes by, the goodbyes won’t get any easier. The first day of primary school will soon morph into the last. And then high school will beckon. And eventually university, and a life that I won’t be part of.
So for now, I’ll be making the most of our summer holidays together. And when the time comes for the next goodbye, I’ll know that it’s a new beginning for her. The next opportunity to grow in confidence, meet new friends and become her own person. I just hope she doesn’t grow up too quickly.