One door closes.

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I’m 33, but I feel like I’m 23. I don’t know why, but when people ask how old I am I always begin to respond with … 23. And then I realise that I’m in fact a decade older and not quite as youthful as I think I am.

I also still feel like Lacey is a toddler, not even a preschooler. And I’m failing to believe that she’s about to be a ‘kid’. Like, full-blown growing-up-child. I’m not sure what the official title is, but it’s that age between preschooler and pre-teen.

Last Friday Lacey had her last official day of preschool. I feel like I haven’t been around as much per usual, at the school, with having a little baby to look after. Hubby has been chipping in as much as possible. But this last week I wanted to do the drop-offs and pick-ups as much as possible. And each afternoon as I drove down to pick her up, I had to hold back the tears, with that big lump in my throat making things uncomfortable.

Preschool is that beautiful place where the little people are nurtured, art and craft is on the daily agenda. It’s that place where the teachers entertain your every pathetic anxiety and concern, and cry when they see off the children at the end of the year.

Yesterday Lacey graduated. She went inside the school while the parents eagerly sat outside with our cameras at the ready, and one-by-one they emerged wearing a black gown and cap. It was like they’d aged a year in that short moment. I didn’t cry. I could feel the tears welling, but instead I positioned myself for the photo and cheered her on.

I did cry when I said goodbye to the teachers. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better preschool experience for Lacey. We hit the jackpot.

Yesterday I truly realised how grown-up my little girl is. Is it normal to not grasp this time-passing-by business? I realised that soon she’ll be forming all her sentences properly and not mixing up words in that cute way she does, like accidentally calling tinsel ‘fizzle’ every single time. A lump formed in my throat and I wondered if I should have read to her more, played more often and enjoyed her for longer. Perhaps I should have worked less, stopped being so bossy and busy, and you know, cleaned less.

Don’t get me wrong, there were days when I couldn’t wait to get her to preschool, and there were so many of them. Tuesdays, the days before preschool, were the hardest when she seemed to push every single button I had. She has an innate ability, like most kids, to be able to turn the house upside down and inside out in record time. I don’t possess the ability to turn is right-side up and right-side out in record time though. It always seems to take longer.

Each Saturday Lacey and I go to the markets, and I love our time together. We turn the radio up loud, sing badly and taste-test the fruits at the fruit & vegetable stand. If we’ve got enough time we’ll eat breakfast while listening to the band. There will come a day soon, I guess, where doing that will be daggy. When she’ll beg me not to sing, and when she’d rather sleep-in than come market shopping with me. I know we’re hopefully years away from those days, but I’m aware they’re around the corner.

Yesterday, one door closed. My baby girl left the world of finger painting, and she emerged a big girl, ready to embark on big school and a life of uniforms and home readers. Next year she’ll open a new door, and I can’t promise I won’t cry. But I can promise I’ll be wearing big black sunglasses to hide the tears.

This mama gig is an emotional one, right?

  • Marie Kosarova

    Love your blog, love to read your entries, it´s so full of those life moments everyone knows, the feelings that everyone has as well… ♥

  • Fashionista

    Ahh FMS, I hear you, my baby boy just finished year 12 and I can relate to every word. He still comes market shopping every Saturday at the crack of dawn. The stall holders have seen him grow from a kinder kid to a preppie, primary, through those hideous mid-high school years to now when he is almost a taller than me but still pushes the market trolley. And he doesn’t like it when I sing along to the daggy 80s background music!

  • Stephanie Veljanovska

    Beautiful. Not sure if its my pregnancy hormones but this made me cry so very much.

  • Georgia

    I can completely relate at the moment. My baby (who is the second oldest of four) graduates kindy today, ready for big school next year. Yesterday she came home with a piece of writing that had been dictated by the teacher. At the beginning of the year she was only just learning to write her name (it’s a long one), and now she’s sounding out words. How did that happen, and where did my baby go?

    Congratulations to Lacey graduating preschool, and to you for getting through the day. I hope Lacey has a fantastic time at big school next year, and that she continues to love your market days together for a long time yet.

  • Renee

    Completely relate here too – and jackpot with the Kindy teachers too – but I get to do it all again in another year with my youngest baby!! Welled up saying goodbye to them after such a fantastic year! My boy starts Prep on his birthday next year! Lacey will love the market visits for years to come, and your blog is just so amazing and a real feel good read – I love it – thankyou!!!

  • Emily @ The Beetle Shack

    Man, i’m SO with you. I still feel like I’m the child and my mum is, you know, my children’s mum too. It’s bazaar to see your own children embarking on life, when you remember doing exactly the same thing! First day of school- I can still FEEL it!!

    Oh Chantelle, big life. big days. big future.

    xx em

    p.s SO wish I was seeing you tomorrow night xx

  • Cass Cusack

    oh wow Chantelle, my boy is turning 21 in 3 weeks and I am so happy/ shattered, i miss the little person he was but love the man he is growing into. Time is just flying by.

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

    So emotional ‘Telle. I really don’t know how my baby girl is old enough to go to uni in a couple of months and that my big baby boy just finished his first year. xx

  • simoneant

    SO emotional…and it doesn’t get any easier! My daughter is almost 13 & now at very big school…my little girl has definitely gone!!!

    I think the changes are so gradual that you almost don’t notice them – but then all of a sudden, you;ve all moved on.

    We loved preschool….my now 8 yr old son still talks all the time about how I would pick him up at lunchtime, we’d buy lunch & head up to the local park, Happy Days….

    Lovely post, I really enjoy reading your blog X

  • JB

    This is lovely, Chantelle, and so true.

  • Tara Bell

    My daughter had her preschool graduation last night also… and I hadn’t cried until just now. Beautifully written, as always

  • Mandy Mason

    My big girl has her Grade 6 graduation tonight, the tears are starting to fall already.

  • Sally Francis

    So beautifully & honestly written. Lots of goosebumps here!

  • Bec

    I’m with you too! My baby finished on Friday and is off to school next year. We have had children at the child care centre for 7 years now and the staff are part of our family. I cried when we said goodbye they gave me a big hug and told me to bring him in wearing his uniform next year. Then they suggested we have another. My tears instantly vanished! I’m ready to move on to being a Mum of three school aged boys. My oldest is 13 and we still sing in the car… He won’t come shopping though.

  • Amy Zempilas

    TOTALLY emotional! I wasn’t prepared for how many teary Mumma moments I would have. My girls had their first Christmas photo together this year and I cried. Then my eldest daughter Ava had her first Christmas kindy concert and I was emotional too. So many precious, special moments. x x x

  • plate4eight.com

    Cry those tears, they are precious. I cry through every event with my kids, I even fight back the tears when the kids all sing “We are Australian” at the weekly parade! It’s just beautiful. Next year my baby (no. 6) will finish kindy and move on to big school. It will be our 8th year at this kindy, and the staff are like extended family. I have also watched their kids grow up, so they know that break-up day next year I will be a mess. It will be a huge milestone for this mum and I intend to cry happy tears. And your little girl will always enjoy breakfast and the markets with her mum.

  • Inspire create repeat

    Just stumbled across your blog via IG… Now, to settle in :)