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My last ever, first day of school moment

It is hard to express what I am feeling right now. I have mixed emotions, to be honest.  On the one hand, I am excited because my baby is now coming to the end of his own chapter with his final year of school. While on the other hand, unlike his siblings, I am deeply saddened it is also an end to my own chapter. 

A chapter as a school mum, class parent, volunteer, a chapter full of school drop-offs, sports days and functions to attend. My identity as a school mum/boarder parent is slowly coming to an end, and although I am so excited that my children are becoming adults. I am also saddened by the news at the same time. 

Rylan Barnes Water Polo for school

Somehow a part of my own identity is about to slip away, an identity that has stuck to me for 22 years! An identity, for the most part, I have enjoyed immensely. I have met some of my best friends worldwide in the school carpark or attending a sports rally. I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed watching the kids participate in all sorts of co-curricular activities. 

Watching your children hit a milestone is both a privilege and a proud moment as a mother. From reading and writing to becoming a leader in the school, it is with each of their own achievements that we too embark on this journey beside them. 

I have written many times what impact it has on me as each child moves into the next phase of life. The sadness I have felt when they have become independent young adults, not because this next phase isn’t as rewarding as the last, but because the child we once knew has gone forever. 

No more hugs due to scraped knees, no more holding of hands while they cross the road and no more problems solved by sleeping in mum and dads big king bed. Although these memories from the past were times I will cherish forever, the next stage is different but rewarding in its own way. 

playing rugby for school

This year is the most challenging that my son will face, but in return, it will be the most rewarding (if everything doesn’t come to a halt as it has the past couple of years). It is a year full of lasts for him, last time to represent the school, last time to put on a school uniform, last time to attend a formal, last…….. (you get where I am going with this). 

However, in return, I receive a child ready to embrace the world. An entire life to live, a world as a whole to be explored. Although he has learned many things during his school years, this next chapter brings new experiences and many new learning hurdles. 


Learning to become independent, driving, and meeting new friends at work or in educational studies. Next year is all about taking everything he has learned and applying it to the world. It is scary and exhilarating all rolled into one. As a mother, you are mourning the loss of a child but also excited about exploring the world through a brand new set of eyes as you hear about his adventures and experiences along the way. 

This kid has quite the journey, educated most of his life in Asia and then spent the past 6 years in boarding school in Australia, my hat goes off to him. It hasn’t always been easy, with Perthes, siblings leaving and then thrown into a pandemic, this kid has seen and done it all. But amongst all of that, he has come out the other end, a boy (or should I say “young man” ) who I am proud to call my son. 

So here I am taking my very last photo, and although he will no longer allow me the pleasure of taking a smiling picture on his last ever first day of school, I am glad I snuck one in to document the milestone anyway. 

first day of secondary and last day of secondary

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