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It wasn’t me that Rory cried for at the preschool gates – it was his brother.

After an inseparable summer together, Arlo clock-watched from the minute his short day at school finished until it was time to leave to collect Rory.

After they were reunited, all afternoon I could hear the sounds of them giggling upstairs in their room, snuggled up together in the top bunk watching Thomas clips on YouTube.

A school uniform has the magical isntant effect of making them seem older. All day it’s been catching me by surprise. “Who’s this school child running along beside me? Oh yes, that’s right.”. I can’t believe it’s my son in the school shoes and the jumper with the logo.

Rory saying “Arlo go to school morrow, and Rory go to preschool!” a million times over.

Arlo’s unprompted excitement about the first day of school. The day before was basically Christmas eve, except with Arlo excitedly twirling round with his book bag rather than a stocking.

The smile that spread across my face as I tentatively asked him about his first day, not expecting much of a response, only to be met with a happy skip and “Oh, it was GREAT” followed by a torrent of play by play information on what they got up to and the repeated exclamation of “I can’t WAIT for my proper full days to start. I’m so excited“.

There is a small sense of sadness that this stage really does mark the end of his babyhood, but it’s been eased by the fact that Arlo’s been desperately eager about going to school for such a long time. He couldn’t wait to find out which school was going to be ‘his’ and which date he would get to start. His readiness for the next stage has readied me for it too.

The claustrophobic winter months can have me wistfully thinking about having a job that takes me outside of the house. About not being the main carer all day. But then the summer holidays roll around and affirm that I really don’t want to trade that time for anything.

I can be envious of the ‘breaks’ Sam gets when he travels, and the tiny bit of regular me-time offered by a train commute and a lunch break. But we both know that getting to spend the summer with the kids trumps all of that a billion times over.

I can’t count the amount of times I’ve said to Sam in recent weeks how much I’m enjoying my summer with the boys. We’ve had so many great adventures. Nor can I count that amount of times I’ve been pinching myself that I get to do that.

My sadness is for the end of summer, the time of year that I am most grateful.

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