Next week will be my son’s last full week in primary school. The secondary school he is moving to in September has decided to admit its Year Seven starters during the current school year to run a two-week transition program, therefore Year Six is being rolled up early. I can’t believe Tom is moving up to secondary school! My little boy is no longer a little boy. Where has the time gone? It seems only a few years ago that I was walking him up to the door of Reception Class in his smart new school-logo polo shirt and jumper and his shiny black school shoes that of course got scuffed by the end of the first week. It seems hardly any time since we were bringing home our first reading books and making cardboard models and now he’ll be learning foreign languages and conducting chemistry and physics experiments. How can we be here already? I can’t get my head round this at all. I’m not ready to leave the primary school years behind! I’m not ready to be the mother of a teenager! And yet that’s where we are nearly at. Consider my mind blown.
And so I am at the poignant stage of looking back at his time in primary school and wondering where my baby boy went.
He’s gone from a small boy who needed constant support, shy, hesitant, reluctant to go to school, playing alone on the edge of the playground in his own world, to a chatty, enthusiastic, friendly, football-playing, street dancing, acting superstar with plans for world domination. This has been achieved in no small part by the constant love and care afforded to him by our wonderful primary school who have gone out of their way, above and beyond, to accommodate his needs and his quirks.
Looking back over the years I’m remembering his teaching assistants, his teachers, the SENCOs (special needs co-ordinators), the playground assistants, the school crossing lollipop ladies, all of whom cared for him and encouraged him to flourish. I’m remembering the school trips to the theatre, to the Mining Museum, to a farm, to the seaside, to the Houses of Parliament. I’m remembering the dreaded dress-up for charity days and the pyjama days, the Christmas Fayres and the Summer Fayres and the sports days. I’m remembering the Nativity plays and Christmas concerts, the end of year shows and various other musical delights. I’m remembering the city council’s Christmas Parties for children with special needs where they ate party food, sang songs and met Santa. I’m recalling the many, many conversations at the classroom door with teaching assistants and teachers, laughing at his antics or the funny things he’s said. I am laughing at the time I had to go into school to cut Blu Tac out of his hair – on school photograph day of all days. I’m remembering the terribly blunt and helpful advice he gave his long-suffering teaching assistant Miss P to dye her roots because they were showing through and to put more makeup on because it had washed off in the swimming pool and “he could see her red face”. Most of all, I am remembering the love that everyone has given him. He has been well cared for by that school. There have been the occasional misunderstandings or differences of opinion on how an issue should be handled but in the main we have been very happy there, particularly in recent years as his communication skills have improved and his confidence has grown.
And now we’re moving away from that nurturing, family environment to a place where he will be prepared for independent adult life. The baby days are over, teenage years lie ahead. This is a big leap into the unknown. Things are going to be very different, for all of us. I will miss this cosy, innocent time. Perhaps it’s only me who’s not ready, for Tom tells me he is excited and keen to move up with his friends. While I mourn the passing of the early years, Thomas is ready to start this new chapter of his life. As always, I have no doubt he will exceed my expectations and flourish.
Onwards to glory!
Featured image by bykst via Pixabay.com