It’s his last day of Year 12 (exams not withstanding)!
Goodbye to the first day of prep, the first day of grade 6, the first day of high school. To that first ride on the bus by himself and the first time he missed the bus altogether. And then the next 20 times he missed it and I drove the 40-minute journey to collect him from school.
Goodbye to that small teary boy who held my hand and made me promise 20 times that I’d be there to pick him up in the afternoon.
Goodbye to my primary school kid who wanted 10 of his friends to come home and, “Can I please go to that party?” And later, “Mum, don’t kiss me in front of my friends! And then much later still, the boy who didn’t need me to pick him up at all because he had a lift with his mate—a mate who could drive!
Goodbye to my worries about if he’d make friends and who would he play with at lunch time?
Goodbye to that primary school kid who played soccer all lunch break.
Goodbye to the high-schooler who got into trouble for locking a teacher out of the drama classroom and the kid who got detentions for reasons that are still yet to be discovered!
Goodbye to making lunches and signing excursions forms and “Why is this newsletter at the bottom of your bag?”
Goodbye to homework and school readers and “No, I don’t know why you have to do homework either. Let’s just get it done!”
Goodbye to “Where are your socks?” and “What do you mean you only have one school shoe?”
Goodbye to finding hats, losing hats, buying the third hat for the term and then losing that hat as well!
Goodbye to the unidentifiable thing squished in his lunch box and the five million uneaten apples and bananas.
Goodbye to sports days and school assemblies and “Mum, it’s Book Week tomorrow! And I need to go as . . .”
Goodbye to the science project the whole family had to help him complete the night before it was due!
Goodbye to getting him up in the morning. Trying to raise the dead before school started. EVERY. SCHOOL. DAY. For 13 years!!!
Goodbye to hugs before he ran through the school gate.
Goodbye to the high school kid and the wave over his shoulder as he got out of my car and onto the bus.
Goodbye to that sleepy look and “Yeah, yeah, I have everything!” and then the desperate phone call at 10.30am, “Mum! I forgot my lunch! And my PE uniform . . . oh, and my homework!”
Goodbye to the wild ride. I thought it would last forever. And EVER! And then I blinked and somehow . . . it’s over.
I never thought I’d say this—is a mother’s heart ever ready?—but . . . goodbye my school boy.
Hello my man.
Tabitha’s debut novel, A Lifetime of Impossible Days, is a life-affirming story in which a woman haunted by her past discovers a time loop where she meets her younger and much older selves. It won the 2020 Queensland Literary Award—Book of The Year.
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