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Kerri McLean

Letting go of my baby's hand as she started P1 has broken my heart

Kerry McLean


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Kerry, Ralph and daughter Eve

Kerry, Ralph and daughter Eve

Kerry, Ralph and daughter Eve

I've always loved the summer holidays, both as a child when I enjoyed my own eight-week long, lazy spell away from my classroom, and as a parent when I've had the luxury of lovely, fun filled, and occasionally sun filled, days with my children, having them all to myself, without anyone else's routines or rules to stick to.

Normally by this stage in the summer, as the school bells are beginning to sound, calling all the youngsters back to their desks, my heart sinks a little, knowing we have to wait months until we have another burst of quality time together, away from my work and their studies. This year my heart hasn't so much sunk slightly as plummeted with stomach-churning speed into my shoes. And the reason? My last child, my baby girl, has started primary school.

It seems like a matter of months since I went through this scary new stage of life with my eldest child who's now 14 years old. I remember shining her little school shoes the night before, packing her tiny, unicorn covered lunch box, ready for her first day and, when the alarm went off the next morning, getting her dressed in her crisp, new school uniform which was at least one size too big to allow for growing room.