They grow up so fast. It happens in the blink of an eye. It seems like just yesterday they started school.
All these well-worn cliches about how fleeting childhood is are sadly true.
We have one child out of school. And I was more emotional on her last day than I was on her first. She’s an adult now, and predominantly needs me for my credit card and Uber account.
You may be reading this while pregnant, your child may be a toddler or just about to start school. You may be thinking this is a world away from your experience. But mark my words, this time will sneak up on you like an electric car my friends and you may think of me and say “Ahhhh, she was RIGHT.”
I found it very hard to pin my daughter down during her last week of school, she was so busy with friends, events and studying for her exam (yes, exam singular, how the world has changed from SACE in the 90s). She was not vibing Mum getting all up in her grill with a motivational speech.
I considered communicating my message via Snapchat or TikTok but in the end I decided to write her an old-fashioned letter…
On your first day of school you were only four years old. You were so little you could hardly carry your big blue backpack. Your hair was long and curly and your little nervous face was shiny with sunscreen.
You didn’t cry when I left you in your classroom. But I did.
I’m sorry the last two years of your school life were in Covid times, I know this means you and your friends missed out on many experiences you had worked towards and deserved. I can only hope this made you more resilient and has given you greater perspective.
I’m sorry for all the times I yelled in the background while you were talking to your class on Zoom.
Last night you won an award for your leadership. Your whole family was bursting with pride when we heard your name read out.
You’ve always been a leader. You’ve had to be, as the eldest of three girls and with the long hours we have worked, I know and appreciate that you have always had a lot of responsibility and independence, so to see you recognised for those skills makes us incredibly proud, and relieved to be honest.
I know you’ve been under a lot of pressure in Year 12 and I’ve learnt that me saying I’ve been through it and it was fine is not helpful nor constructive. I’m sorry for all the times I didn’t know what to say to make it better.
Please don’t put too much pressure on yourself over your final results, I know you can’t see it now but they will not define your success in life, we know you have done your best and that is all we have ever asked of you.
Your future and career will take so many turns. You will face setbacks and it’s how you deal with those disappointments that will help shape your character.
Today as you head off to your last day of school your long curly hair is now short after you cut it off to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation, your empathy is one of your greatest strengths.
Enjoy today, relish every moment with your friends and your teachers, be good and don’t wreck your uniform as I’d like to hand it down to your sisters.
I love you,
When she finally read it she cried and I got a quick hug before she raced out the door with her boyfriend.
And she ignored my advice about the uniform, she’s repurposing it into some sort of schoolies haute couture, as all the kids are doing these days. At my expense.
But I hope some of it sinks in. Mainly the bit about how proud I am of her. Because when I said that all I’ve ever asked of her is for her to do her best, equally that’s all we can do as parents. Our best. And hope that we’ve equipped them to survive in the wild.