Wednesday, 24 July 2013

If you thought the first day of school was tough...

We break up
We break up
We don't care if school blows up
No more English
No more French
No more sitting on the old school bench

Remember the last day of term when you were a child? Anticipating the weeks ahead, making plans to meet at the park or swimming pool, the excitement of finishing just after lunch, being allowed to bring toys into school.
It feels very different when you're a parent. Firstly there are thank you presents to buy. Did we do this as children, I don't remember bringing in anything other than a card? I've had to buy eight presents, Maggie has two teachers and two TAs, Connie has one teacher, two TAs and as it's her last year wanted to give something to her headmaster too. Some people are organised and crafty and make a gift, I am neither of those things so had a last minute dash to the shops yesterday. The school also have a tradition of giving flowers to staff who are leaving and ask each pupil to bring in one flower to go into the bouquet. It's a lovely thing to do but this year three members of staff are moving on, so with two children at the school we had to supply six flowers. Six flowers that they both agreed on and didn't cost me a small fortune. Whether they survive till this afternoon's Leavers Service is another matter altogether...
Onto the Leavers Service then. Connie is in Y6 so is leaving primary school today, meaning I will be desperately trying to hold back the tears this afternoon. If you've not yet experienced the last day at school imagine the first day but with an overhead projector showing pictures of your child growing up and songs about moving on and friendship.
At our school they always sing two leaving school songs 'End of the Term' and 'The Leavers Song'. The latter includes the words,
"So now it's time to say goodbye to our friends
Moving on.
And after many happy years at the school
We'll be sad
When you're gone.

This is our Leavers Song
We're proud of what you've done
Go from here with confidence
For all the things you've done"

I don't know who wrote the words but clearly they had a cruel streak and knew how to go straight to the heart of all parents. The slideshow I mentioned above is probably the most emotional part though. Watching seven years of your child and their friends pass in front of your eyes makes most of the parents (and quite a few staff members) well up. It's a stark reminder of how quickly time passes when you have children. They set the slideshow to music. Music specifically chosen to tug even more at the heartstrings. When Lorna left her class were very close to each other so picked "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story. I doubt there was a dry eye amongst the adults there. The children were in turns amused and embarrassed by us...although as they chose the song they only had themselves to blame!
I don't know what treats lie in wait for me at Connie's service this afternoon.It really doesn't seem that long since I was kissing her goodbye on her first day then treating her to a slice of chocolate cake at the end of that first morning. At the same time there are so many happy memories, she has loved being at the school, had lots of lovely friends and is well prepared to move on to secondary school.
Oh make sure I have the tissues and waterproof mascara ready.

Tomorrow night she's having a sleepover, I may not be feeling as sentimental at 2am when I've having to tell them to be quiet for the umpteeenth time!

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