There were a few tears at school this morning, not from overtired children desperate to recharge and run amok for the summer, but from nostalgic mums feeling sad and a bit overwhelmed that another school year is over, our excellent Foundation year is being left behind and those children that will sprout up and grow big over the summer will go fresh into Year 1 in September.
I look at it from my daughter’s point of view by trying to evoke how it felt, all those years ago, to be set free for the summer and the freedom that was my choice of a summer filled with uninterrupted books, but which for my little girl will be full of playing with friends and being outdoors to see how much more daring with her growing limbs she can be in scaling the climbing frames at the local park.
When I was younger it was a race to get onto the next thing, to reach the next goal and to get to be grown up enough to do things you knew about from older friends and sisters but that you were considered too young to do or be involved in in case you ‘told’ a grown up and everyone’s cover was blown.
And I remember conversations from childhood about what you were going to do when you were bigger, older, taller – certainly not wiser; ‘imagine when you’re 40’ – and laughing that you could ever be that old.
What I couldn’t pinpoint is when it goes from looking forward and moving onto the next thing, to looking back with fondness on how short each growing up stage is, but my partner said today that’s easy: it’s when you become a parent yourself.
To see all that lovely potential and forward-looking happiness, ready to deal with anything the future can throw at you, and to run headlong and happy to the next stage and the next stage, is such a privilege and also a great responsibility, as we try to give our children the security and the comfort for them not to see the stones that can trip them or the dangers that can throw them off a true course.
And to be able to share in some of that sure-footedness and confidence as we go about our adult lives, is a lesson we could all learn from, that we can hold onto from our own childhoods and to trust in a happy future.
So as we start the summer holidays, dry those tears and get ready to play; I’m sure all those mums will be exhausted and delighted once September comes around, and will be looking forward with happiness (and some relief) to the next sschool year again.