To my daughter in her last year of primary school: 'I want my baby back'

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK
Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK 

It seems like only yesterday my eldest child was starting school. 

I remember her looking so small. Way too small for school. Her bag was almost as big as her. She had her hair in pigtails, her school uniform still had the creases in it from the packaging.

Compared to the other kids in the playground, she looked so vulnerable and I had to use all my best acting skills to not let on that I was scared for her and didn't want her to go. 

There were some tears, but mostly she handled it bravely. She was pretty keen to spend some time away from her two younger sisters. She was excited to learn how to read and write. She was ready. I was not.

It was a big day for our family. 

Her sisters missed her, and my husband and I were not prepared for her to leave our family's little cocoon. 

No longer would we share everything together, she was now going to have a life away from us. She was on her first steps to being her own person. 

I remember my husband and I sitting down to a coffee and reminiscing about her birth. We were a little shell-shocked. Time had rushed by way too fast. 

This year, that same child, our eldest girl, will be starting her final year of primary school. It will be her final first day of primary school and before we know it she will be starting high school.

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Can someone please explain to me where the time went? 

How can it be that our first born, our baby, is nearly finished primary school?

She'll be the kid wearing her Grade 7 (in South Australia primary school ends in Year 7) jumper with all her classmates' names on it. She'll be applying to high schools and getting a new uniform for 'big' school.

She'll be having graduation dinners and end-of-year awards nights. She'll be standing on the stage at the Christmas concert, with her peers, so the school community can cheer them on for their next adventure. 

She's got one more year with her great groups of friends, before they all go to different schools. She'll have one year of being the leader of the school to being the baby of the school.

And then, in what I'm sure will be the blink of an eye, her beautiful little school, that she's grown from a kindergarten kid to a Year 7 kid, will no longer be her second home. She'll walk out of the gates and never return.

Our eldest girl, who is now taller than me and wears shoes one size bigger than mine, will be moving on to another exciting chapter in her life.

I can tell she's excited about all the fun things that will happen this year, but nervous about moving on. And I want to cuddle her and let her know that all will be OK, but she's nearly a teenager and knows everything already. 

It seems I might need her to give me the hugs instead, as I'm not sure I'll be ok. I want my babies back. I'm not ready for them to grow up.