The Day You Start School

Dear Mads,

Well, here we are. The day I have been dreading and excitedly anticipating in equal measure is here. The day you start school. The day you start school. I can’t believe it. Over the last couple of weeks we have slowly been getting ready- your uniform has been clearly labelled with your name, school shoes with shiny red lights have been bought and we have had a home visit from your new teacher- but somehow it hasn’t felt real. It still doesn’t.

The day you start school. 

Last night as I was going to bed I went into your room as I have done every single night since you went into your own room at six months old. I stroked your curls, as I always do, and whispered to you that I love you. I watched your chest rise and fall and your eyelashes flutter as you stirred from my touch. But this time I paused a little longer and took in every last inch of you. Processed that memory deep into my brain.

Today things change. Even if just a little at first, it’s still a change. I have to learn to let you go. That may sound dramatic but it’s true. It won’t be straight away, of course it won’t, but full time mainstream education is the first part of your journey without Mummy. I won’t know what you get up to all day every day, bar the select things you choose to tell me. I can’t help you if a friend is mean to you, or if you fall over and cut your knee. It’s your journey, your new chapter and I can only be the proud Mummy waiting to hear as much about it as I can. You will learn, develop and grow so much and sadly you will lose that little bit of innocence that comes with being cocooned in a world that I get to control.

I wish I had the luxury of a rewind button. Even if I could just rewind a few times. I would rewind to the day you were born, to play that whole exhausting but amazing day all over again. I would rewind to just a normal day in your first few months, those days where it was just you and I. I would relish every single after feed snuggle and not be so quick to put you back in your cot. I would lie with you on your play mat and watch as your little face lit up in giggles over the funny jingle it played, rather than lie you on there to get some housework done. I’d read one more story, sit holding hands while we watched one more episode of Peppa Pig. Then I would do it all over again. It was tough at some points, of course it was, being a new Mum isn’t always easy. But what I wouldn’t give to get the privilege of doing it again. Of being able to kiss your silky soft head.

That’s unfortunately not what happens though. I don’t have the luxury of a rewind button. Instead we move forward to the next chapter. I know I am not the first Mum to be feeling this way and I most certainly won’t be the last. And I know this way I am feeling right now, it will happen again. Life has a strange way of making us feel both a mixture of happiness and sadness as time moves forward and new milestones are reached. The first time you lose a tooth, when you no longer call me Mummy but Mum, when you aren’t desperate to sleep in our bed in the evenings just to be close to us, all these milestones are on the horizon. And further still the first time you get your heart broken, the day you leave home, and your wedding day.I think being your Mummy is always going to be hard- it’s always going to hurt a little loving you.

We are both a little scared. I know that. I can tell in your big blue eyes, the way you clam up a little talking about school. You have a false bravado, saying how much fun it’s going to be but I can tell. The little girl who I always thought was so confident, who could make a friend in anyone, is nervous. You were the only one who cried at your first settling in session. Maybe it’s because the other children had already had one we missed. Or maybe it’s because you aren’t as tough as I give you credit for. And I think that’s the hardest pill to swallow- I won’t be there to hold your hand when you are feeling a little insecure. Or at least I won’t all the time.

You are going to grow and discover so much this year. You’ll discover a whole world of learning, fun and play. You will get to have lunch with the big boys and girls, something you are so excited about, and you will change so much. I know you will. And I will be the proudest Mummy ever. I will stand there with all the other parents, waiting for you to run out of the school gate, with your slightly too big book bag slung over your shoulder. I will regale in delight at your stories of school, if you chose to tell me them. I’ll be the one cheering the loudest at sports day and I will display your pictures on our kitchen cupboards like they are an actual masterpiece. I’ll be there to help you read stories you read in class, practice your phonics and learn your sums.

I’ll hold back my tears as you tentatively take your first steps into that classroom without me this morning. But know full well that I will be crying big fat tears when I am back in the safety of my car a little later on. Tears of happiness, proudness, a little sadness and a lot of feelings of sentimental nostalgia.

The day you start school. 

Nothing can fully prepare me for this day. But I’m so proud of you my big girl. And I always, always will be.

Mummy loves you more than anything in the world.

But as always you already knew that.




madsschool1 madsschoolObviously I have removed her school logo off these photos but she looks so smart in her little uniform!


  • Jenny says:

    Oh Katie I think it might have been the wrong morning to read this…. the first day of school for us too. I just cried like a baby. It’s just an excitement and emotional day for us all isn’t it? Its weird to have such mixed emotions for our first borns leaving us. I can’t believe it’s here. This day felt way too far in the future and now it’s upon us. How does that always happen in a blink of an eye? I just hope we all B and I hold it together when he goes through those gates today. MM too. She is going to miss her brother so much I think I am more sad for her losing her bestie during the week. Biggest hugs and lots of love.

  • She looks super smart. Hope today has been gentle to you both. It’s a massive thing seeing them go off to school and the end of an era. I hope she has a lovely first day and comes home full of happy stories. Much love – and Kleenex – for you both xx

  • Such a beautiful beautiful heartfelt post and I cried all the way through.
    Sending you both lots of luck and love on both of yours first day x

  • LauraCYMFT says:

    Awww such a lovely letter and so much truth. A rewind button would be fantastic. But you have done such a wonderful job to get her to this point in her life. I’m sure she will do brilliantly in school and when she brings home that first sticker from her teacher or the first award and she’s beaming at her achievements, it will just make you so proud of her and the journey she is on. She looks so smart in her uniform. Good luck Mads! x

  • Such a beauty, and i so hope everything goes well today Katie – for you both! This really made me well up today. Annie had a wobble going to school this morning and said she just wanted to stay with me. I, for all the world, wanted to keep her! It’s definitely not easy sending them off, I’m not sure it ever gets that much easier, but I take heart in knowing I’m not the only one who struggles with time moving on. We all feel it, don’t we?
    Thinking of you today sweet lady xx

  • Aaah love. Keep your chin up. This is going to a hard day (week) for both of you. I can’t imagine the different emotions you’re going through — I know that I’ll be a sobbing wreck when my babies start school. I was upset enough that Cosmo did his first wee-wee at nursery and I missed it!! Thinking of you today. Big virtual hug coming your way xxxx

    Caro |

  • Oh she looks so smart and beautiful. What a lovely post and it really brought a tear to my eye! Good luck Mads you will do brilliantly and enjoy every moment!

  • Nicky Jones says:

    Gorgeous Katie. So lovely.
    I’m 33 and still call my mum Mummy! Xx

  • lucy says:

    Such a lovely post hun, and so full of what so many of us are feeling right now. It really is such a bittersweet time; a big mixture of excitement for them at this amazing thing that they are about to discover, while also being sad for us because like so many milestone moments, it just reminds us how fast they grow. Mads is totally going to love school, even if she’s nervous and a little sad to begin with, I just can’t believe for a second that your happy, brave and amazing little girl won’t soon find her stride and totally love it. Because she’s got you as her number 1 fan every step of the way, and that gives the kind of the confidence that just shines from within. x

  • Sobbing. I literally can’t cope with the idea of H going to school even a year away. For all the things you mention here. Beautiful post lovely and hope she had a fab first day xx

  • Suzanne says:

    This is so lovely Katie. I knew that you would pen something beautiful for Maddie’s first day at school. I hope she’s had a wonderful day and that you’ve not been too anxious about her. She will be absolutely fine. x

  • Harriet Lee says:

    Such a beautifully written post Katie. Mads looks so smart in her uniform! I hope she had a lovely first day. I haven’t got to do this for a couple more years yet but already my heart sinks when I think about it. Xx

  • Amber says:

    She is utterly perfect. It must be so bittersweet but you should feel proud to be raising such lovely little girls, who will one day be strong and good women. x

  • Crummy Mummy says:

    It’s so emotional isn’t it – I wrote my daughter a very similar letter today. Hope all went well x

  • What a beautiful letter! It was our littlest first day in school last week as well, it is such an emotional time for everyone! She looks absolutely adorable in her uniform! xx

  • Oh huni, I just cried. I get so emotional reading your posts and I can only imagine what I will be like when it is our turn. Not being there when they need us is the thing that I just hate to think of. I know she will be amazing. xxx

  • jenny Paulin says:

    awwww what a lovely letter and i do understand how you feel, because as you know i had major problems with Burton starting school 2 years ago. It is a huge milestone and as you say, a step towards our babies gaining independence and us loosing our hold over them.
    She looks lovely i her uniform and i love that she wants to be a cook. bless her, i hope she (and you) have had a good day.
    I have Jenson starting on Thursday and then i will be home alone! *sniffs*
    (hugs) xx

  • Oh this made me ball my eyes out. What a beautiful post. Aria is coming up to 15 months and I know the years before school will fly by. Tomorrow, we’re going to watch that extra Peppa Pig episode 🙂 x

  • Mary says:

    Beautiful words – seriously where does the time go? Its made me all emotional about E starting on Thursday x

  • nicola says:

    What a beautiful heart tugging post. You have such a way with words, they just explain every emotion, every heartbeat, every tear that a mummy has when their baby starts school, whether it is nursery, p1 or p2…Thank you so much for sharing, sending huge hugs to you and a lots of love to Mads as tomorrow sees her on another fun adventure xxx

  • Katie says:

    Such a beautiful letter Katie! I hope Mads had a lovely first day and you coped ok without her, It is a big change but an exciting one.
    Also I love her super shiny patent shoes so much!
    P.S if she is anything like F then she will tell you sod all about school.
    What did you do today? Nothing
    Who did you play with? No one.
    What did you learn? Mummy can you help me build an X wing out of lego?
    Unless it’s bed time then he won’t shut up 😉 xxx

  • Carie says:

    Oh dear oh dear, I’ve been doing so well today at keeping it all together but this might just push me over the edge – what a beautiful post and doesn’t she look all grown up and smart in her uniform. I took Kitty’s pictures before we left this morning (yay for it being sunny) and flipped between thinking how big she looked and how little! And now we just have to do it all over again tomorrow!

  • susankmann says:

    Aww bless, she looks so lovely. It’s a very similar uniform to ours, we have the same Royal Blue. I hope she had a great day and big hugs to you x

  • What a beautiful post. It would be lovely to rewind sometimes, or maybe just slow time down a little bit.
    I really hope her first day went well and you didn’t feel too sad.

  • Beautiful letter to Mads, it’s such a hard time. We want to watch them continue exploring their own world, allowing freedom but also mourning the time that’s gone in a flash. I am also extremely emotional and I’ve sobbed again on my way home today. She’s so excited and eager to learn there so that’s a good thought, comforting even. I think the biggest part is always wondering if we’re doing the best or right choice for them but if we can see how happy they are I guess we’re doing a good thing right? Watching them thrive, flourish with life is truly magical and even though it’s so hard for our hearts I think taking it one day at a time is a great option. (At least I tell myself this through blubbering eyes!) x x x

  • Such a beautiful post Katie which brought tears to my eyes.

    Just wonderful, especially for Mads to look back on and read when she is older. She looks so very grown up and so very lovely in her school uniform. I hope she is settling in really well and that you are coping with the change 🙂 Parenting is so bittersweet but she’s incredibly fortunate to have such a loving and caring Mum. x

  • Claire says:

    I know exactly how you feel. Reception is a killer but they do love it. They don’t tell you everything, and they get bored of you asking…. but if you’re listening you’ll get the snippets, like how the teacher was silly and forgot the register, or how so and so was really fast at running, or what they did in the mud kitchen that day and then they start telling you that copy includes a digraph, you catch them reading and sounding out the words alone, or find them using words in speech that they never have before, and then there’s the attitude they develop by the end of it…… and fear not, for all those bumps on the head, you’ll get a text home and if she’s like mine you’ll get some great shots of dirty, bloody knees covered in plasters, filthy socks and scratched up shoes. All signs of a great time.

  • Oh lovely. It’s so hard! I can relate to this so much. It was weird for me as when it came to the actual day. I did have a little cry. But it was mainly due to the fact that she just looked so happy. It was happiness. My husband however? Pure sadness. He was hysterical the poor chap. We did a good job with our girls and now some much needed time with our little ones x

  • Surely my baby boy can’t be big enough for school already! We have this all to come next week and I know I will be feeling the exact same way. I hope Mads enjoys it x

  • She looks so grown up! – I hope it went well for you both xxx

  • Tanita says:

    Just beautiful. You managed to make me cry. Tou always put so much love and passion into each of your posts it really shines through and it’s beautiful to read and feel what you feel. I have really tried my hardest not to get emotional about Sophia starting school because it’s all too much. I was pretty proud of myself not crying yesterday on her first day. But I think that was because I cried my eyes out on Tuesday when her teacher visited us. I think that was the real moment for me having her teacher come over and discuss Sophia and what she loves or makes her scared and that just started me off and I couldn’t stop. I really hope mads grows in her confidence and makes plenty of friends wishing you guys all the best lovely family xx

  • Awww, so beautiful. I know we have this ahead of us next year but I am really not ready to lose him just yet, not even a little bit. Hope Mads has had a wonderful first week. xx

  • Oh Katie, she looks so grown up. I hope it went well, both for you and Mads. We had the luxury of sending J to the nursery at the local school so he’s been going for two hours every afternoon for the past year. It made starting reception so much easier for all of us as we knew everyone and what to expect. It’s still hard on my heart to hand him over all day, every day though x

  • Absolutely beautiful words Katie. I’m with you on the rewind button, I’d love to be able to hold my girls as babies again, just for a moment. Time really does go by so fast. Hope Mads is enjoying school and you’re all getting used to the change xxx

  • Aaaw Katie, Mads looks fab and this brought tears to my eyes, as I’m going through a similar journey to you (and lots of others) right now with Freddie. It’s such a special and exciting time, and so many emotions flying around- I think we’ll all need a holiday by half term! x

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