I didn't think I'd cry.
This morning I was so excited for my little girls first day at school.
Last night I helped her lay out her uniform ready and this morning we were the most organised we have been in ages, and probably will ever be again.
Water bottle filled, hair neatly tied back with a bow. Obligatory first day photos taken and posted all over social media, as well as messaged to her dad who was sad to be at work missing the special occasion.
We walked down to school, getting there in plenty of time and I watched as she chatted to a couple of kids she recognised. I felt so proud and excited for her and could see how confident she was – there certainly wasn't going to be any tears from her! A few of the children decided to line up at the door, mine included, squashed together in their eagerness for the morning ahead.
Then the doors opened.
And that was it. She disappeared. Not even a goodbye!
That's when the tears welled up in my eyes.
Parents were invited to follow them in as the teachers had prepared a little gift for us – that was enough to tip me over the edge! The tears were rolling and I was trying not to let anyone see!
I was torn. I desperately wanted to go in and say goodbye, but I also didn't want her to see me crying and undo all that confidence. I knew she was fine, she had gone in fine, but what if she saw all the other parents go in and looked for me but couldn't see me and panicked? So I took a deep breath, brushed aside those tears and went to find her. She was, of course, fine, and more concerned that a boy had gone in the girls toilets and could I check that it was in fact the girls toilets in case she needed to go later. So a quick kiss and a hug goodbye and I was off out of the door, collecting my gift on the way out. I could see it was a poem or letter likely to induce more tears so though it best to wait until I got home to open it!
Then, as I walked home, it really hit me.
End of an era.
Both of my children are in school now.
I'm not having any more.
That time between birth and 5 is so precious. They grow so quickly and change so much. There's this whole 'community' around this stage where mums talk more, and support more. We'll never do the baby stuff again or go to another toddler group.
I guess I'll miss that.
I'm excited for the future, of course I am, for the next chapter and all that. Plus my kids sleep at night now which is always a bonus!
But the walk home was quiet. The house too quiet. I should have made plans to do something this morning, gone somewhere to keep me from dwelling.
I'm not sad that my babies are growing up. I'm sad that I'm not having any more. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions and experiences over the past few years and we've had good times and bad as everyone does. I've learned so much about who I am and what my values are over these few years, more than at any other time in my life.
I'm done though, I really am.
But it doesn't mean I'm happy about it.
Not today, anyway.
So I've had a good sob and I feel a bit better, so I best get some work done, whilst I can!