His final week. Primary school done. We’ve had countless ‘lasts’ – assemblies, performances, photos, trips, discos – schools seem to really know how to drag these things out.
But whilst I’ll of course miss the big events, it’s the loss of little things that will have the biggest impact.
No more holding hands to cross the road.
No more wiping milk marks from his cheek at the school gates.
No more rushing back to pick up a guitar/recorder/swimming kit/random craft homework.
No more getting excited about huge twigs or conkers.
No more random craft homework to assemble.
No more ‘abstract’ pieces of art coming home.
No more catching up with mums in the playground.
No more play dates.
No more free play.
Watching him and his friends running, laughing and playing in the park on their final day together, it dawned on me just how big this transition is. They played so freely and innocently, no issues about boys v girls or Class X against Class why, or the ‘popular’ kids separating themselves.
They weren’t bothered about the opinions of others. They weren’t bothered about who’s high school ranked higher in a list. They weren’t really thinking about the fact that this was the last time many of them would see each other again. They were simply living in the moment. Enjoying it for what it was. Freedom in the sunshine.
This time next year, they’ll all be different people. Their views on the world, and no doubt eachother, would have changed. Some will feel under pressure to behave a certain way or say certain things. Some will be worrying about a homework deadline, whilst others would have decided homework isn’t for them. Some will be bothered about their clothes and hair, but others more bothered about games and TV. Some of the friends they’ve adored since the age of 4 will be nothing more than a name in a phone. The teddies they cuddle might be gathering dust under a bed in a bid to look cool.
I’ve realised just how protected children are at primary school. whilst they have window to the ‘real world’ it’s only left ajar. Even in year 6, we parents still have so much say. We still have regular interaction with school and have a good idea of what’s happening.
But come September they’ll be thrown into a world of independence. A world they’ll have to navigate, understand and make decisions. Independence isn’t just about being able to walk or get on a tram alone. It’s making decisions on a daily basis about what you stand for. What is the right thing to do. It’s determining your priorities in life and knowing who’s opinions really matters. It’s kowing who to trust or respect and how to keep a distance from those that you don’t.
I look at Boy1 and even though I say he’s so grown, when I think about the magnitude and expectation of this next chapter, he just seems so small.
So I’m going to enjoy this summer with him. It’s his final summer of real freedom with us. It might not be filled with expensive trips and days out, but I’m going to make sure he’s allowed to enjoy childhood for what it is. Freedom and innocence.
Because this is it. His childhood really is in its sunset. So I’m going to enjoy every last moment.