In Holland, most children go back to school around the middle of August. In Britain, it's usually the first week of September. To me, this feels much more natural. The last week or so, there has been a chill in the air. All the hedgerows have red berries. In the morning, the grass is wet with dew. It gets dark a little earlier every evening and it takes me by surprise every evening. The weather is turning, the season is changing - a change in routine fits in beautifully.
For us this year there is a big change in routine. My nine year old is starting middle school. I know it's a cliché, but it is so true: she's growing up so fast. Last year I went to leavers assembly and sat there thinking 'but she's not ready for this'. But this past year, she's done a lot of growing up. She's becoming more independent, she has her own tastes and her own interests. She's discovering the world on her own, without having to have an adult hold her hand all the time, and it gives her a lot of confidence (more than I ever had at her age). She is fun to have around, to have a laugh with, to have a cuddle with. I can ask her for an honest opinion and know I will get one. Most of all, she's turning into a beautiful young girl.
Part of this stepping out into the big wide world is going to middle school. Going on a bus in the morning, instead of in the car. Having lots of different teachers instead of just the one. More homework. She was very ready for it. I'm not so sure I was.
What I am sure of though, is that she is my big girl. And I am more proud of her than I'll ever be able to tell her.