Friday, 17 July 2009
Four years ago, at 12.30pm one afternoon, I pushed open this gate and went through. I had a baby strapped to my chest in a Wilkinet, and a sense that everything was familiar and strange all at once.
It was the last day I picked the Eldest Latte up from preschool at the end of the term before she started school.
I went back to the gate today. Her nursery has long been closed and demolished - her class the last to go there. Beyond the gate now is this:
After standing there feeling like an idiot for a couple of minutes, I walked along the road for a few hundred yards to the new nursery and picked up the baby, now a four-year-old, from her very own very last day.
The Lattes went to private nurseries for a couple of half days a week as babies and toddlers for necessary mummy-has-to-work-now childcare - but on reaching three they went to preschool, and began to turn into little people.
They were lucky. They both managed to be born at the right time in the year to score five whole terms of pre-school: some poor summer-born children have to make do with three. But five terms is a big time in a little person's life; and a huge time in the life of a parent who can't believe it has managed - twice - to go past so quickly.