This morning I stood on my front verandah and waved goodbye to Phoebe as she drove off to her LAST first day back to school.
Today's the day I have sort of been looking forward to, but also not.
We've had 16 first days in the family. Emily started Kindergarten at our local primary school back in 2001. Phoebe followed her three years later. There were some tears and some excitement (that was from me, not the girls) when they both started school. They seemed so grown up to be starting school... looking now at the kids starting kindergarten, they seem sooo tiny. And I remember thinking that 13 years of schooling for each of them was going to take FOREVER. But of course, it didn't take forever, it has actually flew by, and here we are in 'our' last school year.
Of course, being the dutiful mother, I have documented most of these very important first days back to school with the 'first day back to school' photos. And while there have been some years that Emily and Phoebe groaned when I've wanted to take a photo of them returning to school, I persisted. Not all photos have shown happy smiley kids returning to school. Some showed their true feelings of leaving their long summer holidays of freedom behind them!
But there were many photos where my girls obliged, smiling for the camera, either sitting on our front steps or standing in the garden. I have watched as school dresses have gotten shorter (or my girls have gotten taller), school hats floppier, hair styles have changed and braces have been put on the teeth and then taken off.
And then, of course, I sometimes think back to my own first day of school. Well, I can't remember anything of it, to be honest. But I do have a precious photo taken by my dad on the morning of my first day. It was 1971 and I was 4 1/2 years old, heading off to Burnside Public School in North Parramatta. Green was not a favourite colour and yet I wore it for six years!
I may not remember my first day of school, but here's a few random things that make me smile when I look at this photo:
- I loved the old brown school cases we had back then, wish I still had this one.
- I love the fact that my socks probably covered more of my legs than the uniform did.
- My hair was always embellished with big ribbon bows.
- The nerves were apparent in this photo, I'm twitching the hem of my uniform with my hands (maybe that's why the hem was short, to give me something to hold onto).
- Shiney school shoes and bright white socks, always make me think of new beginnings!
- I can pretty much guarantee there was a vegemite sandwich on soft white bread in my school case. This was my school lunch of choice for most of my 13 years of schooling (occasionally changed to a soft white bread roll as I got older). There would have also been a little plastic bottle of cordial (probably frozen to stay cool until lunch time) as well... and a couple of iced vovos for my recess snack.
And I'm so glad I persisted taking those photos of my girls. They may not remember that much from all their school days in years to come but the photos I've taken may just bring back some little fond memories, just as my dad's photo of me has done.
There is something about the first day back to school for the new year. It brings the idea of new beginnings, new learnings and more responsibilities within the school community. But this year it's also bringing in the end of an era in the Carter household. Our last year (or really, only 3 terms) of school has just begun!
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