Yesterday my son went on a school trip to Thorpe Park and as he hurtles towards the end of his Primary school journey I sat down last night and reflected on the changing face of my Year Six schoolboy and how much he’s grown emotionally over the last few years (as well as physically!!).
It doesn’t look likely that parents will be allowed on the school grounds before my son finishes Year Six now and that’s probably going to save me getting through a box or two of tissues. I won’t get to do the walk past all the classrooms, from Nursery onwards, to see the ghosts of school days past. To imagine that little boy who cried practically every day at drop off from Nursery through to Year One.
I won’t get to see his final Sports Day in person, to remember the child who hated joining in with it all, who hated being looked at. The same boy who has now found he has a competitive nature and wants to win his running races!
My son isn’t much of a thrill seeker and it’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve been able to get him to try the rollercoasters aimed at younger children so I wasn’t entirely sure how a trip to Thorpe Park was going to go really. The kids had already decided on the level of excitement they wanted and had been grouped accordingly. His best friend has been to theme parks in America so is used to larger rides and was going to be in a different group when they arrived at Thorpe Park, which my son was fine with. But they had planned to sit together on the coach for the journey there and back. He’s made another friend since the class has been back in school and this child was going to be in his group, so he seemed ok with everything.
My son was awake at 5.20 am yesterday morning, which meant I was too! Apparently, he wasn’t excited. Umm, not sure that I’d agree with that statement. I walked him to school early and the kids all headed into the building to meet up. The coach was already there and I’d promised I’d wait and wave him off. Still my little boy really. When they came out to get on the coach it was clear that the plan of sitting with his bestie had gone astray as they’d already been split into their relevant groups for the day ahead. The coach had tinted windows so I could see how well that had gone down with him. With the changing face of my Year Six schoolboy, I just had to hope that he’d cope ok with that change and still enjoy his day. A few years ago that would probably have ruined things before he’d even got started.
It was a scorching hot day and knowing the theme park, I wasn’t convinced they’d get to be in the shade much. There was also probably zero prospect of him wearing the sunhat provided, reapplying the suncream provided or drinking the numerous bottles of cold water and apple juice provided! But hopefully, he’d still have had a good day.
The day passed and before I knew it I saw a message with the ETA back at school and joined other parents at the gates. The coach arrived and as the children filed into school my son waved at me, a positive sign that all was well. When he was released back to me he was clearly tired and looking a tad sun-kissed. When I asked if he’d eaten all of his food, he commented about not having a sandwich. Umm, I put a cheese sandwich in with x,y and z I replied. When we got home it became clear that he’d not opened his cool bag properly and therefore not seen the majority of the food I’d packed for him. He was starving. Good job I’d already bought him a pizza for a quick and easy dinner.
Once I’d got food inside him he was ready to tell me about his day. He might not have gone on the bigger rides but he’d tried new things, sat with different people, enjoyed himself. He didn’t get to sit with his bestie on the way home either but he had taken it all in his stride. As well as not discovering half of the food he carried around all day, he hadn’t worn his hat until a teacher mentioned it to him at some point, hadn’t reapplied suncream so he did well to come back with only a slight tinge around his neck and cheeks really, and had apparently drunk loads of water and apple juice which clearly didn’t really translate to my idea of loads. But he was smiling and full of talk about his day. I had to watch a number of Youtube videos of the rides he did and didn’t go on and I was left admiring how much he’s grown up. The resilience he’s built up, the confidence to say when he doesn’t want to try something and how he’s more adaptable to change.
He moaned when I told him it was bedtime. I’m not tired. I beg to differ I replied and of course, within a few minutes of my closing his bedroom door, all was quiet. Fast asleep and this morning I had to wake him up.
There are so many changes for him to face in the months ahead but seeing how he handled yesterday’s trip and how he’s been during this academic year of bubbles being burst, homeschooling rounds two and three and then a change of class structure and teacher on his return to in-school learning, I can see he’s going to be ok. He’s ready for the next step, for Secondary school and everything that that entails. It’s me who isn’t ready for it. Yes, I may have the uniform sorted, yes I’ve just sorted out our mobile phones so he’ll have my old one soon, I may have stopped meeting him from school at the end of the day. But I’m not ready for next month and the closing of the Primary school days for the last time. But that’s my problem, not his as I look on at the changing face of my Year Six schoolboy