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Let them grow



Let them grow..


We all marvel at how when something we have been doing for a long time comes to an end, suddenly seems to have gone so quickly. At the time it feels like forever, and yet when it’s over, it was the blink of an eye.


On Friday, my youngest child, Amber, completed year six. For her, this day marked the end of a wonderful journey through primary school. And what a journey she has had, she’s been nurtured, cared for, encouraged and prepared for her next steps in the process of growing up.


For me, this day marked the end of a decade of having children in primary school. It won’t be too long before I have to adapt to having a child who has left school completely, because my oldest child Jude, starts his final year in September.


There could have been more years of little children perhaps, there was a period of time when I was convinced I wanted more children. But I realised what I actually wanted was Jude and Amber to stay little for longer. It pulled at my heart when they were big enough to start nursery, then leave nursery, then start school, then leave school.


When Jude left primary school I was distraught. I couldn’t comprehend how fast he had grown, but mainly I felt a gut-wrenching sadness for how much I had missed. I had always worked fulltime, I have books and books of photos from childminders and nurseries where both Jude and Amber had possibly far more fun than they might have had with me. So, I didn’t feel guilty, but I did feel regret. I regretted that I hadn’t done the school runs, at least not the 8.45 and the 3.15 ones. I did rushed 8am breakfast club drop offs and 5pm and afterschool club pickups.


The kids really were fine with this, they enjoyed breakfast club and afterschool club. I was fine with it too for a long time. Until I suddenly realised time was passing by and actually, I really did want to do school runs and be at home before and after school.


When I finally did decide to leave fulltime work, Jude was already in secondary school. Amber was leaving year 4, we had out first ever summer holidays at home together. I would never have been able to do this previously and I have been very grateful that teaching yoga meant I could work later in the day when Amber would be at dance.


We have had two years of school runs, breakfast together, tea together before Amber went to dance and I went to yoga. Two years of precious day to day life that wasn’t rushed. But even when you aren’t rushing, time rolls on. I have been very aware for the last few months as I have walked Amber up to school that this routine that we had grown to love would soon come to an end. I would walk with her feeling a little sad, holding her hand, noticing it still felt little in mine, but not as little as it did. Amber will get the bus in September, I considered still taking her to school, but despite what she may think now, she absolutely will not want that!



On the last day, I walked with Amber one last time and then got in line for the leaver’s assembly. I categorically cannot hide my emotions, so both Amber and Jude are very used to seeing me cry, I cry when I am sad, happy and pretty much any emotion in between. School assemblies invariably make me cry.


This very last assembly was exceptional. Growing up is often compared to planting and growing seeds, fascinating how you can plant a packet of wildflower seeds that all look so similar, and yet you get an array of flowers, no two the same. As I watched this final assembly, it really made me think about this comparison. Fundamentally each child had been taught the same subjects and skills, lived the same school life, however they had all turned out so wonderfully different. It was really apparent how the teachers had encouraged and nurtured each child, and how proud they were of this dazzling bunch of wildflowers they had helped to grow.


So, I watched through brimming tears as the children sang and danced, and I laughed and cried at the video recreation the children had made of ‘Let it grow’ from the Lorax. This song got stuck in my head for the rest of the day. But by the end of the day, I realised I had slightly changed the words in my head to ‘Let them grow’.


And perhaps this was why I wasn’t quite as distraught at Amber leaving primary school as I was when it was Jude. I have worked a lot on acceptance throughout these precious primary years, accepting that I couldn’t be there at the school gates every day, acceptance that time rolls on and you can’t slow it down, but you can perhaps slow your own pace down.


But the biggest thing I am learning to accept is I have to ‘let them grow’.


I wrote this blog with a heart full of gratitude to Alford Primary School, thank you, for all the beautiful ways you encouraged my children to grow. x

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4 Comments


Kate Parker
Kate Parker
Jul 23, 2023

Beautifully written and I totally get what you're saying. I felt the same when my son finished primary, a whole mix of emotions and I still remember the feeling of his little hand in mine as we walked to school. When he finished secondary last year, that brought up a whole other load of emotions too! Just this week I came across some old photos and couldn't quite believe where the time has gone. My mum always said that at the time, when you're dealing with the daily stuff of being a mum, it feels never-ending but then you look back and really it's over in a flash. If I had my time again, I would slow down, not …

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Time is a funny thing Kate! thank you for such a heartfelt comment xx

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Chrissie Gilyeat
Chrissie Gilyeat
Jul 23, 2023

Reading this has made me cry. Beautiful sentiments Steph xx

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I cried a few times writing it! Thank you for reading lovely xx

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