A Year of "Lasts"

My youngest child entered year 6 at the start of this term and after two decades of continuous school run to our village primary I am almost at the end of an era in terms of parenting.

madmumof7 and son scooting to school

I know from experience that having children in secondary school is a much more remote style of parenting to the primary years.

For a start I am not so sure who their friends are and might be only on doorstep acquaintance with their parents. You know, where you might chat for a few moments on the doorstep when you are acting as mum's taxi. You might even make it into the hallway but there the relationship ends.

It's a big difference from the toddler days where their friend's parents were usually your friends too.

I find it hard to even keep up with who their teachers are and certainly wouldn't stop for a friendly chat with them in the playground.

I will miss the school run most of the time. Maybe not so much on cold or wet days but mostly I enjoy our scoot to school (we both have scooters) and our chats about the decomposition progress of Flat Harry, the roadkill hedgehog who's been on the road for quite a while now, Pokemon, tsunamis, bin lorries and so much more. He's autistic and his range of interest is very wide!

boy in PIkachu hat

boy sitting in Lego

It's not often my youngest holds my hand now but he will often come for a snuggle in the playground, clinging to me like a clip on toy if he's feeling a bit anxious. I get hugs from my older children as they leave the house for the bus to their secondary school but they are usually brief squeezes with dangling bags banging into us as they dash out of the door.

Boy in pokemon hat on school run

I'll also miss the brief contact I have with other adults as we gather for ten minutes waiting for the children to go into class. It can be lonely being a WAHM (work at home mum) and with pretty much all of my work online those quick chats can be the only people I speak out loud to all day apart from my family members.

Even dropping off at secondary is different as it's usually a car drop, joining the line of other harassed looking parents who are there because the bus didn't arrive, or the littles darlings missed it.

I opted to stay at home as a parent so I could be there for Harvest Festival, sports day, assembly and all the other stuff. But interaction with our "big school" is limited and we aren't even allowed at sports day. It's a good school but it feels much more remote than our little primary.

So I should make the most of these "lasts"

Last school play. I can't imagine my son joining the drama group or volunteering for the secondary school play so this will probably be his last appearance on stage. Cue cameraphone at the ready.

Last sports day. That's if it happens. The last few have been cancelled because of wet or ridiculously hot weather.

Last school services. Harvest, Christmas and Easter where the year 6's usually take a major role in leading the services. Bring on the tissues. It will be particularly poignant as it's  been a team effort between family and school staff to bring him to the point where he can usually join in in some way. I'm hoping he carries some of that confidence forward to his new school.

Last leaving events. He's the seventh child of mine to go through the primary school his own dad attended 50 odd years ago.  At the end of year six they always organise events including a presentation evening, party and service. It will be very strange thinking it's the last time we will be attending these.

A teacher once joked that when the last of my children left they should name a part of the school after us. As well as being a parent there I've been a TA, Governor and midday supervisory assistant. I've seen a complete change in staff apart from the school secretary.

I cannot believe it's been more than 20 years since our first school day with my eldest. At that point I never dreamed I would have seven children in total. That's a lot of school runs!

madmumof7's children

It may be that I have to take him to his new school as the walk up to the bus stop and the ride on a public bus service may be too much for him to cope with, but it still won't be the same as our daily scoot.

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