A mother’s thoughts on the last day of the first year of school

This is another one of those eye roll if you don’t have children statements, but how on earth is it the end of term already? I’m sure it was only a few days ago that I dressed our biggest boy in an oversized polo shirt and trousers, hugged him as tightly as I could and left him in his classroom doorway for his first day at school.

All of a sudden, it’s mid-July and he’s got his first year under his belt. Can you believe this was him just a few months ago?

He’s gone from afternoon sessions, to mornings, and then full-time – coming home exhausted as the extra hours wear him out. He’s had two teachers, who he speaks so fondly of, and who I’m sure he will miss next year. He’s cried through a Christmas concert because we were too far from the stage, and proudly worn his first Race for Life medal home.

He’s run excitedly into class, and waited eagerly for his teacher to acknowledge that he’s there. He’s taken an age to say goodbye, coming back for just one more hug three times before he’s ushered through the door, and of course we’ve had the odd tear when he hasn’t wanted us to leave.

He’s dressed up as Peter Rabbit for World Book Day, taken monkey in for a teddy bears’ picnic and worried over what headgear to wear for a fundraiser. He’s come home with invitations for parties of children we’ve never heard of, and I’ve sat awkwardly though them, hanging onto my Diet Coke for safety, not knowing who any of the mothers are.

He’s had his first taste of school dinners, and has seemingly eaten nothing but cake and custard for two-and-a-half months. He’s come home with grazed knees, grubby uniform and tales of so-and-so being mean to another child (this gets to me every time).   He’s answered “dw i ddim yn swr” (I’m not sure) to every question about his day during the evening, but filled me in on every little detail when we’re snuggled up in bed.

It feels like he’s been through so much already. It’s only school – something we all know is coming, and something so normal, but at the same time it still feels so huge. Even a year in.

He’s not our baby anymore. We can’t just escape on spontaneous day trips, or go away for long weekends when we want to. The mornings are a rush and sometimes a struggle not to get cross when he’s dilly-dallying, We have to tread on egg shells by Friday evening when he’s so tired he could burst into tears at any little thing. And there’s the huge guilt at not being able to do drop-offs and pick-ups because of work.

But there are so many lovely things to remember.

Bumping into his teacher at the Christmas pantomime and her telling me what a lovely little boy he is.

Seeing his little face pop up in the window after drop-off, so he can wave goodbye for a second time.

Our first parents evening, when I had to stop myself from welling up with all the lovely things his teacher said. How she described him waiting around after story time to have a little chat or tell her a story. And how she compared him to her own little boy – can you think of anything nicer?

Cheering him on at sports day and hearing the happiness in his voice when he announced his name in the microphone as third place.

His excitement as we queued up for his first ever school disco.

Almost every child calling his name and telling their parents “that’s Santino” as we walk down the hill from the car.

How proud he was carrying his first project into class.

So many firsts in such a short time.

We’ve gone from feeling anxious about sending him to a Welsh language school when we speak English at home, to being amazed at how quickly he’s settled in and started to pick another language up. It’s hard to describe the feeling when he comes out with a new word, or starts singing in Welsh unprompted. I just want to squeeze him, I’m so proud.

And because of him, out littlest boy is also using Welsh words. Nobody in this house starts a race with “ready, set, go”, it’s “ar eich marciau, barod, ewch” every time. It’s a little thing, but shows how natural speaking Welsh will be to him.

I could go on, but like I’ve said it’s all normal little things that every child will go through … but they feel so big to me.

So that’s dosbarth meithrin done. The first uniform can be put away, scuffed shoes will be thrown out, and it’s onto dosbarth derbyn, with all the excitement of choosing the first lunchbox.

*if you think this is an emotional post, you should read my thoughts the night before his first day in school

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