Anyway back in 2008 I wrote an article for Link Magazine after my eldest daughter started going to Endcliffe Playgroup. It's a gem of a little setting where I discovered I could leave her for a few hours a week to gain a bit of independence while I focused on my baby and had a bit of a break. I wish I could find the article, but I know that essentially I wrote about her beginning to grow up and me having to get used to the idea. Now of course I understand that it was the first step in a very long process of letting go that seems to go along with having children.
I know, I know. It's a cliche to say "how time flies" but now it seems to be 2012 and I really have no clue where on earth the time went. When Tilly was little people said the time from birth until they start school is gone in a moment. There have been many times when I found that extremely hard to believe (particularly when they wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, threw their faces to the floor in full scale tantrum in car parks that kind of thing). But regardless of all that it's here. The last week of my youngest being a preschooler.
I know now that her starting school in September will be hellish for me. Hopefully not so for her. And hopefully I'll hold it together until I get out of the classroom. But before we reach the next bit of letting go we have to get through this week.
And this week includes me and Phoebe saying goodbye to the very playgroup that helped me out in 2008. She goes to another setting too, and don't get me wrong it's been lovely, but Endcliffe is different. They are a charity and do what they do because they love it, it's as simple as that. They are small and welcoming and have made it possible for me to actually be a part of her preschool learning as a mum, occasional helper and even committee member, whilst still giving her and me some time to ourselves and independence.
I know the staff extremely well and I trust them. I have watched them help so many children with differing needs, and have enjoyed being there as a customer and now as a friend. Phoebe will undoubtedly miss playgroup, and particularly the close friends she has made there. But of course it's time to open the doors for some more little ones and for Phoebe to go through some bigger ones (usually manned by the Headteacher).
I'll give the staff cards and gifts to say thank you, and donate something too for the new children to have fun with. But my final gesture is to ask you to help me spread the word about this place.
You can find playgroup in Endcliffe Methodist Church Hall on Ecclesall Road on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9-11.30. It costs £7.25 a session, runs in term time, takes vouchers and all that jazz. And we have a regular toddler group on a Friday morning too from 9.15.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free visit or call Gina on 0114 2670630. Or try Facebook or Twitter or all those usual means of contact.
Thank you. Now I'm going to try not to think about change too much for a minute or two, and go and eat biscuits instead.