There are milestones as a parent that you brace yourself for, first words, first steps, first day of nursery, reception and then one day when you've been through a million milestones and a myriad of life stages you eventually get to the day when your last baby starts at secondary school, it's the weirdest feeling, my children pretty much are independent people of their own being, Looby could have gone to school on her own today for the first time, she didn't of course, dad and sister Abigail (now in year 9) came to take her, good for me because I got photographs of my girls together on their first day back, something I wasn't sure would happen this year, a sadness of my daughters not living in the same house but a happiness that for the most part they'll be together at school every day and though I'm sure Abigail will claim that she won't admit that Looby is her sister I know in my heart that she'll look out for little Looby.
When Abigail started at St Mary's she was ready, she'd been ready for 2 years, always looking ahead, always wishing to be older, hurtling through life at 100 miles an hour but Looby isn't the same, she and I have taken the slow and winding path through her childhood, it's still full of wonder and magic and unicorns, she's still at her own inner stage where she feels if farming doesn't work out as a career she can always be a unicorn. I hope that sense of magic and wonder never changes, she's my crazy girl, my baby, my bouncy happy little one, she's the one where she actually does practice being happy and hopeful and grateful and helpful every single day.
Of course I brace myself for the teenage years, in just a couple of weeks she's going to be 12 and I know that hormones and milestones play a huge part in changing children, particularly girls, beyond all recognition between the ages of 11 and 13, it's obvious when Abigail and Looby are together, if you met them and didn't know there was only 16 short months in between their ages you would think they were 3 or 4 years apart.
So today, while I go off to photograph a wedding in Yorkshire I'll be thinking of my little one, so grown up in her slightly too big uniform (you mums will know "she'll grow in to it) with her 2 huge school bags negotiating a school four times the size with quadruple the amount of students and teachers than Benton Park and I'll be hoping beyond all hope that when I get home tonight she'll say "It was a good day today mum, I can't wait to go back tomorrow"