To My Beth, On The Last Day Of Year 9.

Dear Beth,

Do you remember when we went shopping to buy your first ever school uniform? How the four of us all piled into Aunty Danni’s car on a Monday afternoon and headed into Worcester with the sounds of Dolly Parton blasting through the open windows?

Do you remember sitting next to an emotional Mummy in the back seat who was trying so hard not to cry because our “babba” suddenly seemed years older? Do you remember Nanny reminiscing over the first time she held you? Do you remember Aunty Danni singing along and getting some of the words wrong but she didn’t care because you were singing with her and getting the words wrong too.

Do you remember how Nanny proudly held your hand and walked you through the streets of Worcester, proudly showing you off to anyone who smiled at you or complimented us on what a pretty girl you were? Do you remember how Nanny sat you down in the shoe shop and helped you pick your first pair of shiny black school shoes with a buckle?

Do you remember your first day of school? How I put your hair into neat pigtails, dresses you in your blue uniform and popped on the shoes that Nanny had brought you with so much love? Do you remember walking to school and not shedding a tear as you walked through the school gates without so much of a glisten in your eyes? Mummy had plenty.

Do you remember reading the note I popped into your lunch box whilst you sat with your new friends? Do you remember coming home that day beaming because you’d made new friends, loved your teacher and had already rejected three boys as a potential suitor? 

Whether you remember all of that or not, I do. I remember it all. I remember the warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach as I watched you go through those gates, I remember going home and crying my eyes out because I wasn’t going to pick up my little girl at 3.15, I’d be picking up a young lady who would have grown up so much more in those few hours.

Yet here we now are, finally at the end of year 9. You’ve got your whole holidays planned already, usually you spend most of your Summer holiday at Nanny Oogie Boogies and this term, will be no different, only this time, your time with Nanny will be even more precious and you’ve made plans to go and look after her. When you come home, you’ve got shopping trips and parties planned with your girls, you’ve got days out with us to look forward to and maybe, if you’re lucky, we can squeeze in a few beach days. 

This year has been a tough one for you. You’ve never really had much faith in yourself when it comes to your school work, forever telling yourself that you’re just not academic. Well my girl, that’s bullshit. I’ve read your report about 10 times and it screams a bright future ahead of you. Your favourite teachers are leaving today and you worry that you won’t enjoy the subjects as much without them, but you will. You’ve chosen your GCSES subjects to study for next year; Geography, Drama, BTEC Sport and Philosophy & Ethics (so you basically get to be an argumentative drama queen who has no sense of direction) and already it’s sinking in just how much work you have ahead of you next year. You’ve had so much going on in that little head of yours because and have finished the term with even more bad news but you’ve not let it get in the way of your schooling, you’ve just fought harder to keep going. 

I feel a bit sad at the thought of you finishing school today. Not because I know you’ve got six weeks off and it’s going to cost me a pretty penny in uniform, but because it feels like the end of an era. The end of the “easy” days of school. Every term you seem just a bit more grown up and I know it’s about to happen again. You’ll go back to school a young adult ready to study for exams. I’m just not sure where the time has gone and all I want to do, is freeze it. 

Enjoy this holiday please my girl, make the most of everyday and enjoy every second. Laugh and make others laugh the way you do so effortlessly, relish the freedom and the opportunities you are given. Embrace all the adventures and make many memories. No doubt we will probably argue along the way at some point, especially now you’ve developed your Fathers “I’m never wrong and will argue with a tree” attitude but, remember, I am proud of you for everything you are, and all you’ve yet to be. 

Uniform shopping won’t quite be the same as it was 9 years ago, but just know when we do that shop this year, my heart will be just as broken as it was all those years ago because my baby girl is growing up and doesn’t need to hold her Mums hand in the street anymore, instead, I’m holding your hand in my heart.

Train- Hey Soul Sister (Always our song)

I love you babba.

Always yours.

Mama “Marjay, Mummy, Emma, Bank Manager, Confidante, Soul Sister, Emotional punch bag, Best friend.

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