The leavers assembly was brilliant. The school hall was packed full of parents and kids, and we were all thoroughly entertained by the happy, grinning Year 4 kids. They sang songs, told us of their memories at the school, played violins, danced to 'Its the Final Countdown,' and had us all whooping and cheering in the audience - no tears!.....until the head teacher stood up.
Mrs B. is a fabulous headteacher, and I was fully expecting her to stand up and say 'well, parents of Year 4 kids - time to say goodbye - thank God, because this class have caused nothing but mayhem since they set foot through the school doors 6 years ago...'
But she didn't. She admitted that this was a 'difficult' class, but explained that she thought it was for 'all the right reasons.' She described them as a class with LOTS of big personalities and LOTS to say. Hard work for the teachers, but rewarding too. She then stopped talking and her eyes filled with tears.
'And some of these children have had a lot to deal with this year.'
Well, that was it. The whole place started sobbing.
I looked at my little grown up lad on the stage and felt very, very proud of him. He's been a rock for me in the last few months.
And then I looked at his friend - the little lad whose foster mum died from cancer this year. Him and his 2 little sisters have been staying with their childminder since then, but in the next few days, they are leaving to join a new family - about an hour's drive away.
'This'll be my 4th mum,' he'd said to my 9 year old a couple of days ago. He's a talented little footballer, a cheeky little worky-ticket at times, but I've always had a soft spot for him - ever since I sat next to him on the bus on a school trip back in Reception class when he was 4 years old. He had stared at me for ages before saying - 'why have you got such a big nose?'
After the assembly, whilst all the kids were getting cuddles from their mum's, dad's and grannies, he was sliding up and down the hall on his knees. I went over to him, and asked if it would be alright to have a cuddle. I fully expected him to say - 'Get lost, big nose,' but he didn't.
'Yeh alright,' he said.
I gave him a hug, and babbled something about being good for his new mum, working hard at school, enjoying his footy and looking after his sisters.
'Yeh, ok,' he said, then went off sliding on his knees again.
He's a very brave little worky-ticket.
This week has been full of 'for the last time's.'
Cancer treatment for the last time for me on Tuesday, First School for the last time for the 9 year old on Friday, Year One for the last time for the 6 year old...and lots of last times for my 9 year old's little pal...new challenges lie ahead for us all, and hopefully lots of fantastic 'first times'.....