the end of an era

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post about any aspect of parenthood but, well, it’s that time of year isn’t it? Today was the last day of term and marked a turning point – my youngest had his last morning at nursery before he starts proper school in September. And yes, I’m feeling all emotional about it.walking down a path
On Tuesday he had his ‘nursery graduation’ (these events seem to be the thing now) which involved the kids wearing caps and gowns and doing a little singing performance before being presented with a certificate. It was very cute and lovely but somehow didn’t really tug on my heart strings. I think it’s because I find that the most emotional moments are often the simplest. They sneak up without the bells and whistles of celebrations and ceremonies. Their power is not in the fanfare but in the stillness in its wake.

And so, this lunchtime, leaving the classroom where my youngest had been spending his mornings for the last year, I found myself dragging my heels. Most people had left – the hubbub of voices receded, the crush of parents chatting about holidays and of jostling youngsters waving paintings faded away. But I couldn’t quite leave. Dawdling, I took one more look around the empty walls usually festooned with colourful artwork, at the rows of little pegs without their clutter of coats and wellies, and the big tables swept clean of plasticine, paint and glue. And my eyes swam.

Because I wasn’t really seeing it at all – that emptiness, I mean. I was seeing my youngest bouncing into the class every morning and rushing up to greet his little friends, I was seeing my middle son grinning by the window as he waved me off, already clutching the lego he made a beeline for every morning. And I was looking back seven years to when my eldest began nursery, remembering how it felt to cross that threshold for the first time. I couldn’t believe I was about to leave for the last.

So I stalled, I hugged his (wonderful) teacher again, I fought back the tears and made plans to immediately head to the nearest soft play with a group of friends for a chat and a laugh and a little nostalgic wallow.

I’ll miss these afternoons together once my son starts school – not only my time with him but also the (mostly) weekly meet-ups with the group of mums of my son’s best friends. I didn’t even expect to make new friends third time around (having lost the super-keen ‘Ooh, who will be my friend?!’ edge I’d had when my eldest started school and even the more casual ‘Shall we be mates, then?’ vibe of round two) but my youngest, it turns out, is a sociable little thing with impeccable taste and his friends’ mums are lovely. We’ve had some good times this past year.

This isn’t an ending though, not really. The nursery class are all moving up to reception in September and it’s a mere one classroom away! I know my son will be happy and I’m not at all worried… so what am I getting all emotional about? Well, apart from the simple answer (that’s just how I’m wired, sentimental sap that I am), I think it’s because it’s really and truly the end of an era. All three of my boys have been through this particular rite of passage but third time around it has particular significance for me because this is also the last time. It’s not just the end of my four-year-old’s preschool years it’s the end of the preschool years for our family entirely. That’s it.

Of course this change is great in many ways. It means more freedom and space and time for me and a movement towards all three of our kids being more independent. Honestly, I think it will be fab.

But right now, I’m allowing myself a little wobble. My baby is growing up – ALL my babies are growing up – and sometimes that hurts. So tonight I’ll indulge myself. I’m going crack open the wine and the chocolate and reflect on the last ten years.

A decade of parenthood and three little school boys.

It’s all going to be fine.

6 thoughts on “the end of an era

  1. Carie @ Space for the Butterflies

    Oh that makes perfect sense to me – my littlest had his last ever parent and toddler group and the group has been so much a part of our lives since he was a tiny wee baby going with his sisters it feels very strange to be saying goodbye to it all even though he’s only moving into nursery and he’ll love it!
    Carie @ Space for the Butterflies recently posted…The end of termMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      I think all the ‘lasts’ with your third and (for me at least) final child are all the more poignant, aren’t they? They have the history of the other two kids and the significance that you’re leaving this stage forever. Thanks for empathising! Xx
      Maddy recently posted…the end of an eraMy Profile

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  2. Nicola Young

    This brings back memories and has made me quite emotional too. I don’t like end of an era occasions either and I had a Facebook memory pop up in my feed last week of my son’s last day at preschool 4years ago – 4years!! I can hardly believe it. I remember doing the same as you – feel emotional – write about it. It’s what we do isn’t it?
    Nicola Young recently posted…Summer reading ideas for reluctant readersMy Profile

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  3. Marija Smits

    Aw, what a beautiful post. It had me crying. It IS so bittersweet isn’t it? And yes, you definitely need to feel all your feelings and allow yourself time to reflect on the past decade before you start on the new and exciting times ahead. Sending love. xx

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  4. Susan Mann

    Aw, what a lovely post. I’m in tears, it’s so bittersweet. My little one graduated to as you know and it’s definitely a big more having no more nursery children. Onto the next step. Big hugs xx

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