This was me, thirty years ago this month. Not back to school, which is what Tara set us for the Gallery this week, but just to school. For the first time. Aged three and a half. The beginning of, gulp, twenty-one years of formal education.
And this was me, on Saturday, five miles down the road from where the first picture was taken. Back to (that) school for the first time since about 1984.
I couldn't go in, it was the last Saturday of the school holidays after all, but I know that had I done so it would all have been utterly familiar and utterly alien. I remember almost nothing about it. I was seven when I left and I have no friends from there and no memories other than those in my parents' photograph albums.
But I found it strangely compelling being there. With hindsight, that day was the first really independent step on the road to being me. A person in my own right, separate from my parents and with a life of my own:
Did you have a good day darling?I've been thinking about starting school a lot recently, not just because lots of my friends, both bloggy and otherwise, have children starting for the first time this month, but also because I'm having to get my head around the fact that although L is now the age that I was then, up here she will start school a year later than she would have done down south. This is because the cut off date for starting school in Scotland is February, and so, her birthday being in April, she will start the August (not September, that's different too) after she is five, rather than the September beforehand.
What did you do?
I've been struggling with this a bit, partially because I was mentally prepared for it to happen next year, so to find out that it won't be for another year after that has come as a bit of a shock, but mostly because she really is so ready for it.
But then I look at those pictures, and I see how young I really was, and I look at my beautiful, precocious, equally young daughter, and I think of her starting off on her road to independence and I realise that getting to keep her with me for an extra year can only ever be a good thing.
Can someone remind me of that this time next year please?