A letter to my son as we enter our own grand finals.

My darling son,

I know that grand final season is upon us. You know it too. You seem to have inherited your father’s love of AFL and I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever get to watch anything other than sports on my TV again.

But as your Mum, I am gearing myself up for a different kind of grand final. The kind where you’re about to start “big school”. The kind where we begin the end.

That’s not meant to sound pessimistic. It’s the opposite. Just around the corner is a stage of your life filled with learning, laughing and living. You’re about to meet new friends. Friends who may travel beside you for the rest of your life. You’re about to make your own mark on the world, without me holding your hand every step of the way.

Your mind will be blown by all the things that you’ll learn and you, as a person will thrive. You’ll meet teachers who “get” you, who can teach you in a way I never could. They’ll show you things about your world and your interest in it will grow. My heart will swell each time I see you excited to learn. You will develop a bond with these teachers which will be so special that many years down the track, you’ll recall how magic they were.

Then, they’ll be teachers that don’t get you. That’s life. We can ride that out together. Just know that whatever we face, I am always your advocate. You’ve always got someone in your corner.

As your Mum, it’s also the start of me letting go. Ever so slightly I know that we are starting our “lasts” of this stage of your life.

We’re about to enter your last term of preschool. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. It seems like only yesterday I was sitting in the car-park, finally allowing myself to let go of the tears I’d held back saying goodbye to you for the first time. It’s been two years since that day and I can’t even begin to tell you how much you’re learned. I am proud beyond words to say that you are mine.

The end of preschool will also mean the end of your little friendships as you know them. Of course, we will still arrange play-dates but, as all of you venture off to your different schools it will be the end of shared lunches, of daily hugs hello. There will be new friends to fill the gaps but you don’t fully understand that yet.


Image: Supplied

It's also the end of you being little. Starting "big school" is a huge deal and marks the very beginning of a long schooling life. Pre-schoolers are still little in the eyes of the world and for a few more weeks, so are you. Your mannerisms and language still melt my heart but gradually, as you assimilate yourself into school your baby-like tendencies will fade as strive to show everyone what a big boy you are.

It's also the final time where I feel I can protect you from the nastiness of the outside world. I can't shield you from things I don't want you to hear because big kids, they talk. You'll hear things I don't want you to hear, learn words I only say under my breath. You'll be exposed to news which I've deliberately turned down when it's come on TV simply because I didn't want that kind of evil to enter your pure, childlike mind.

I won't be there inside those school gates to make sure that no one is being mean to you. I won't be there at lunch time to check if you have someone to sit with. The thought of you sitting by yourself, not knowing anyone hurts so much it makes me cry but I know it's a hurdle every mother has to go through. You'll find your way and you'll find your people. Please choose the right ones.

I won't be able to pick you up early because I miss you (as I sometimes do now without you knowing, under the guise of us having to go somewhere). You will have your own responsibilities and your own daily plan that would be wrong for me to interrupt.


Jacqui with her son Jett. Image: Provided

It's probably also the last time I can tell you what's cool. As you start school you will develop your own sense of self.  You'll want to wear what you want to wear. You'll come home and educate me on what kids are into and just as I did, you'll beg me to let me wear something I'd never agree to. No longer will you be interested in the music I listen to but you'll develop your own favourites which I'll probably never get.

The end of preschool is also the end of our days together. I have fought my hardest to be with you in your younger years. I know it hasn't always been easy with me working from home, not being able to play with you when you wanted, me telling you to "amuse yourself" a hundred times a day. I didn't want to be the "stressed mummy" who got cranky and yelled because my head was filled with competing priorities. But some days that is exactly what you got. But it mattered to me that I was with you. I can never get that time back so I'm glad we filled it with smiles when we could.

You're my first baby, and this is my first grand final too but I'm happy that we're on the same team.

I love you always.

x Mum (p.s. you still can't call me that. It's Mummy for a few more years!)