Leavers’ Assembly. Last day of Year 6. Girls weeping, mums weeping, dad’s sniffling, boys looking a bit puzzled. You have to go with the cliché here, it’s irresistible - seems like last week, literally last week, Daughter was entering her big new Primary school with a crowd of other kids, gait awkward, legs stiff, because they were so very nervous. That was four years ago. Seems like only the week before I watched her toddling off holding her mum’s hand, and her little lunch-box, to infants’ school. That was seven years, maybe eight years ago. She didn’t even much enjoy school these past few months, got too big for it, wasn’t learning much, marking time before moving on. Makes no difference. A chunk of childhood is over, four years, more than a third of her life, and you can’t help it, nostalgia gets you, and maybe the worry about whether you enjoyed it enough, wrung enough out of it, appreciated it enough, valued it enough.
Time works its slippery business. You’ve got a pretty good grip on it as it plods along, hour by hour, day by day, then suddenly … woah, what was that? You’ve dropped it, spilt it on the floor, and there’s four years round your feet, finished, irreplaceable. So that’s it, it’s becoming a memory now. You remember that trip, that teacher, that time when we … It’s gone.