This month has been a really tough one for me. I should say for us, as a family, but I am being self-indulgent and feeling the change is mine alone.
Our youngest son has left primary school. This should be an exciting transition for him, and us, but I’m feeling quite sad and redundant about it.
I can’t believe that my little boy, the one who used to come running out of the playground armed with piles of pictures and small models – indistinguishable to anyone other than me, is actually going off to ‘big school’.
This is a place where I won’t be able to put little treats in a Buzz Lightyear lunchbox, or wait for his beaming face at the school gates of an evening.
We are currently journeying through (what I hope is) the worst of the teenage years with our older son, who is 13. We're blindingly aware of how the school transition has altered him. Currently we are only met in the evening by a grunt.
There’s no more tales of who’s been naughty in the playground or who he sat next to at lunchtime. Humdrum as they sound – I love to hear them!
I’ll miss chatting with the other parents at the school gates. As much as we’ve all made promises to stay in touch... I doubt very much that will happen.
Like any other parents, we’ve watched our children grow and blossom through primary school. The youngest in particular has grown from a frightened little boy into a happy, confident and popular boy.
In fact, he’s progressed so much that he received the ‘Outstanding Pupil’ award recently at his graduation ceremony. He was nominated by teachers from previous years, making it all the more impressive.
He has overcome such a lot in his young life, most of his worries stemming from me. He was only five when I was diagnosed with MS. During my first awful relapse.
I could no longer care for them or take them to school, so Granny had to step in while Daddy was at work. For a little boy that clung desperately on to me at the best of times, it must have been hell.
He learnt many coping strategies with the help of a fantastic school nurse, to whom we owe such a lot, along with family and friends. As much as they fight like sworn enemies, his older brother proved a great source of support.
Aged only seven at the time, he was the most mature and amazing child I could have hoped for.
Adding to the emotional impact is the fact I have many connections to the school my youngest has just left. It's where I worked for many years in the classroom and contributed as a parent governor.
Many of my close friends are there. I still look upon it as the place I spent so many happy years, when I was ‘normal’.
Now the journey to ‘big school’ begins. We were treated to a long talk by his new head teacher last week, about how the apple tree takes thirty years to grow from a seed into an apple, ready to branch out on its own in the big wide world.
So now, he leaves behind many friends who are also going their separate ways. He joins his big brother at the grammar school that my husband and I attended many moons ago.
After his reaction at the induction day (tears, nerves, more tears), I feel that September may prove to be another difficult time for us all, but hopefully with good support he will flourish here into a confident and happy adult.
"My son has overcome such a lot in his young life... He was only five when I was diagnosed with MS."