Amber has a date with big school on June 14th. We meet her new teacher and the girl gets to try on Hurst Primary for size, see how she likes it.
I suspect she’ll be fine – she’s seen it often enough with Millie that it isn’t the strange alien place it must have been for her sister; and she’s spent plenty of time at nursery these past few years. So, fingers crossed, she’ll be fine.
In fact, it might be weirder for myself and the Lovely Melanie, in that it’s a definite cut-off point where we are no longer the parents of a baby or toddler – or even, really, of small children. Now we’ll have two children at school.
I was trying to decide why this feels like quite such a momentous change, and I think it might be because it makes us “old”, rather than the girls. There’s no escaping it now – we’ve been parents for almost seven years – parents twice-over for four years. We’re no longer new to this, no longer wide-eyed (from lack of sleep) discussing nappies and feeding. We’re veterans at the parenting game now.
Plus, when you’re a child, years seem like lifetimes. Even if your memories are a bit patchy, your childhood feels like it lasted a long time. My own certainly did, and I think I expected the girls childhood to feel the same. Because our childhoods lasted “forever”, we unconsciously expected the same of the girls’ – that their childhood would last “forever”, too.
And no doubt for the girls, it does – it is. But for us, looking back, it seems hard to credit that this part is already over: that Millie will soon be seven; that “Little Bubbah Amber” will be at school learning to read and write.
It may seem premature and maudlin to mourn their childhood when they’re only four and six, but I guess when you think about it, their childhood is always in the process of finishing, one day at time.
Actually, you know what? Maybe it’s not premature and maudlin, because childhood is precious – both for them and for us, their parents. Maybe it’s very sensible.
Maybe it’s a good thing to occasionally realise just how fast it’s going/gone; to take a moment to stop to enjoy it more, to appreciate it more. To stop rushing to get them dressed or washed or to nursery or to bed… And to just stop. And look at them. And enjoy their company while we have it.
Because as someone once said (I forget who): children don’t belong to us; we don’t own them; we just get to look after them for a bit before they leave to do their own thing.
But if we look after them well, they’ll always want to come back and visit.