In little over a week your beautiful baby is about to start school. You can't believe how quickly the past four years have gone. Your heart hurts when you think about seeing them walk away from you in the playground for the first time. Their little chubby legs in white socks and jumpers that look like they may drown in them. You may have had a little cry on their last day at nursery or pre-school. And there's been the odd night where your heart has felt heavy when you think of them going out into the big bad world.
I know how you feel as last year? That was me. I spent the whole of the summer worrying about whether my beautiful girl would eat her school lunch. I panicked that she may not have the right PE shorts and prayed to God that she would make at least one friend to call her own. And secretly? I prayed to God that I too would make one friend to call my own. The school playground looked just as daunting to me as I am sure it did to her.
But a year on I can speak with hindsight and say you know what? It's not half as bad as you think it is going to be. In fact? That little beautiful baby you weaned, helped to walk and talk and snuggled to within an inch of their lives? Just keeps on getting better and better. If I knew then what I knew now I would be thrilled at the thought of them starting school. The worry that they would change used to overwhelm me so much but I could never imagine that the change would be quite so joyous.
It's wonderful. Hearing your child say "I love you Mummy" for the first time is magical. But imagine them writing it down for you. Time and time again. Little love notes dotted around the house. Seeing them pick up a book and read the odd word here and there. And the never ending round of 'interesting' art they produce just for you. The belly laughs when they see their friends on the way to the school gate and that all exciting squeal when they get an invite to yet another birthday party.
And whilst four going on five seems a mile away from your baby that smelt so sweet. Deep down? They are still your baby. They still want cuddles and kisses when they get home from school. They need you now not to do up their coat, but help with homework or to answer a question they've been thinking about all day. It's not always cool to run out and into your arms. But it's always cool to snuggle up in bed and read their school book with them over and over again.
So Mum and Dad. Chin up. Allow yourself a little cry when they put that big bag on and pose for those all important first day photos. But remember that yes, this year is going to be a big change. But a change for the good. Take it from someone who knows it all to well.
Love the Mum with a girl soon to be in Year 1 xxx