A Letter to You going into Year One

Dearest Mads,

So here we are again. The night before the start of a new school year. This time last year I had the biggest anticipation in my tummy. It was filled with nerves, with butterflies dancing around, and every time I thought about the prospect of you going to school, it would make tears spring to my eyes. I remember the evening before you started reception so very well. I sat there, not really concentrating on anything, feeling like we were entering a new chapter that I quite frankly didn’t want to be a part of. I remember going into your room that evening, feeling like I was losing you. I paused for longer than I normally did in your room, watching you sleep so peacefully, and I felt both a sense of sadness for what we were leaving behind and excitement for what was to come.

And I suppose in a way I have lost you a little bit. Even though you are only five, just as I feared a little bit of your innocence has been lost. It’s not in a way I can really put my finger on- you still hold my hand (sometimes!) as we walk into the playground, you still run to me excitedly when you see me at the end of the school day. You still are so little yet we are leaving some of that really little persona behind. You’ve definitely changed. You are becoming more feisty, more opinionated, you know more about the world around you. It’s both amazing yet a little sad to watch. Almost like the older you get, the more difficult it becomes. Which again feels weird, because at the same time the older you get, it also becomes easier. I’m probably not making much sense. But then it is hard to explain what it is like to be a Mummy to you.

You flourished in your reception year at school. There was never a day that you didn’t skip into school or run out to tell me the fun you had been having. You learnt so much. You went to school only knowing how to write your name by copying it, and only being able to read the odd small word. Now you can read confidently, you write so well and you love maths. You are a little sponge, absorbing everything that is thrown at you. You love to learn, you love to be creative and you love to write stories and jokes. You made so many friends this year, you love your school and I love your little school too. You are happy there and in turn that makes me happy. I am sure it won’t be plain sailing forever, but for now while you are young and carefree, you are safe and you are happy.

We’ve had a great summer. But it hasn’t been easy and I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been hard at times. You are such a complex little character and I really do feel like five is quite a hard age. You test the boundaries, you don’t listen, you act up, you get so hyper that it is hard to calm you down and you often really test my patience. It’s hard to explain what you are like, but you attention seek and almost play up to get our attention even when I tell you time and time again that your actions are having the opposite effect. There have been many times this summer where I have felt an immense sense of guilt as it feels like I am always shouting at you, nagging you or just generally feeling aggravated with you. That’s not a nice feeling at all and I hate myself for feeling that way. But you can be hard work at the moment. You are a little person who needs pretty much constant attention, who needs a lot of stimulation and who finds it very hard to play independently. Of course there are small snippets of time in the day when you do, but for the most part you find it difficult. And in turn I find it difficult as sometimes Daddy and I need to work, or look after your brother and sister, or being honest, we just need to switch off from the constant-ness of it all.

I go into your room at night and I look at you and it’s then I see you and you feel so small. I forget sometimes you are only five, only a young girl, and you are learning too. Every day I think that I must focus my love and my attention on you, not to snap so easily or not to get frustrated by you. It’s not your fault that you have two siblings who need us too. It’s not your fault we both work from home and sometimes need to do work. But then another day rolls round and the cycle starts again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like this every day. There have been some times over the summer where you have been wonderful. We have had days where we have had the most amazing time. And there have been more amazing ones than difficult ones, but you are definitely going through a funny old phase.

For all the difficult ones you are a wonderful little girl and I am so proud of you. You are polite, so very polite saying please and thank you for everything. You are kind, often thinking of others before yourself. You are a fantastic big sister, and adore your baby brother and sister, although you and LL can sometimes bicker non stop. You are one of the most affectionate people I know, wanting to cuddle and be near us constantly. You have a cheeky and mischievous personality, a fantastic sense of humour, a real wit about you, and a laugh that never fails to make me feel full of love for you.

I feel sad for the summer we are leaving behind, but a large part of me is sad for the milestone of it really rather than the actual idea of you going back. The fact that you our first summer holiday is over. The fact you are going into year one and you are no longer the littlest. The fact that I look at your first day of school photos from last year and you have grown so dramatically. You have long limbs that go on forever, you’ve lost that sense of stockiness that you get when you are small. Your face has lost that baby look, and you often talk like someone a lot older than your tender years. I am a sentimental fool, I can’t help it and I do get sad for what we are leaving behind. But at the same time I am ready. Ready to regain a bit of the sense of structure and routine that school brings. My girl with the outstanding and glowing school report, I hope that being back at school helps you and me a bit more.

It doesn’t feel too much of a change for us really, you are still in the same class with the same teacher, just with a few extra reception children added to it because your school is so small. I am grateful in part for that because I don’t deal with change well. Year One. I can’t believe it. Only another year till your little sister will hopefully be joining you in lining up at the school gates. Time has a habit of going incredibly fast, and sometimes I want to try and grab it with both hands and tell it to just please slow down.

Last year when I wrote you that letter I said I will be the proudest Mama in the world, standing there at the school gates each afternoon. I am that Mama. That hasn’t changed and it never will. I hope you know that. I hope you know that even when you frustrate me, or when I lose my patience, or when I have to teach you right from wrong, I hope you know that I am always that Mama. You will always make me the proudest. I will always love you completely and utterly, whatever challenges come our way. You are the most wonderful little girl and you are the one who made me a Mummy. How special is that? Sometimes it  means I am learning just as much as you, we are learning as we go along together, but one thing is for sure- you are my whole world along with your brother and sister. You make me the proudest every single day and my heart hurts a little loving you.

Go and smash Year One my darling, like I know you will. But just try not to grow up too fast.

Mummy loves you more than anything in the world.

But as always you already knew that.


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  • Oliphantum says:

    Oh my. Tears rolling down my cheeks as I sit looking at my eldest who starts Reception class on Wednesday. I am a proud mama too. They bring such frustration with such love at this age…such complex emotions. It’s all going by so quickly. Sigh!

  • My Two Mums says:

    How lovely! Hasn’t she changed! We have a little man that can be hard work at times but also makes us so very proud. I think it’s attributed to how smart they are. All those brains need constant stimulation.

    Hope she has a great day.

  • Rosie says:

    I love the way you write, you seem like such a loving mother. The pics show just how much she’s grown from last year. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of having some time to do things in at home now. 🙂 xxx

  • Mary says:

    Oh Katie, I don’t know whether it’s because I’m only 7 weeks pp and HIGHLY emotional at the moment (I just cried at the dog on This Morning!) But I’m nearly crying and I had to force myself to finish reading your post. I’m feeling very much the same and just coming to realise myself that I will never have this time again (6 whole weeks of summer off with my two girls!). This all rings so true.
    Just beautiful!

  • Nikki, Head Herd Rearer says:

    Crikey Katie. How perfectly put… a gorgeous read (and I’m a blubbering wreck!). I hope your biggest little lady has a fab first day back xx

  • Natalie says:

    Gosh I had a little cry reading this, maybe it’s because I was hoping I would feel ok this year and the worry was just last year starting reception, maybe it’s because my baby is starting preschool or maybe it’s because im full of pregnancy hormones – either way I have butterflies and I’m so dreading our first day tomorrow. I hope Mads has a lovely day she looks so grown up. X

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Sorry to make you cry Natalie! I hope that you had an ok first week. Pregnancy hormones make all emotions a bit heightened don’t they? That was me on Mads first day last year. xx

  • Whata lovely letter. Our daughter has also started her 1st day of Year 1 today. It’s amazing how much she’s grown since this time last year. Also nice to know someone else’s 5 year old can be trying at times! 😉

  • Yep as I thought the lump in my throat is huge and I’m fighting back the tears! So much of what you wrote I could relate to with LB and he is only a few weeks older than all. He has been testing the patience and pushing every button this summer though it has also been fantastic. I’m looking forward to preschool tomorrow but the best thing is he’s looking forward to it more. I have no idea how I’ll be feeling this time next year X

  • Shhh, don’t tell anyone you want to be a spy, Mads. It’s a secret ; )

  • Notmyyearoff says:

    So cool she wants to be a spy. I sometimes read your posts about Mads and you could be writing about Z. He’s going through a highly excitable phase right now and can be so hard to calm down. Or I have to tell him something 25 times before he’ll do it when I’m on the verge of shouting. I do hear a lot of parents saying this about their nearly 6 year olds so I wonder if it’s a phase they all go through (I hope so!). She sounds wonderful as always in equal measure and it must be so nice to watch her skip in so happily 😊

  • Oh this has made me cry so much! I was actually ok with Lucas going back yesterday, it felt like we were just back to normal and I felt really silly for the state I got myself into last year. Then when I was sorting out his clothes for the next day I found the wrappers of his snack in his pocket and it made me burst out crying, just the thought of him being good and keeping hold of his rubbish while he’s playing outside. It made him seem so grown up, totally ridiculous and my husband thought I’d lost it! I think I’ll always be surprised by Motherhood. I’m not at all surprised that you’ll be such a proud Mama on that playground, how could you not be with Mads, she sounds like such a lovely character even on the tough days, I hope she loves school just as much this year xx

  • Katie Ellison says:

    Aw Hayley even your comment made me a bit emotional so god knows how you felt! Bless Lucas. And thank you, she is a lovely girl bless her. I just hope she is out of her tricky phase soon.x

  • Oh I LOVE that she wants to be a spy! She is such a cool kid. This is gorgeous huni and she will go on to make such a success of her life xx

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