Everything speeds up at this time of year and closes in on you with astonishing pace. It's a time to look forward to and enjoy yet, when you're unprepared like I am, many a time I've found myself "exhaling toward the fringe" while telling myself to just lap it up and enjoy the moment.
Coming at me are: early work deadlines, Xmas shopping, Xmas baking, menu contributions for various Xmas events, school reports, certificates, year books and artwork, orders for new school uniforms x3, new Chrome books x2, stationery lists x3, school trips, prizegivings, graduations … Wait, I need to exhale toward my imaginary fringe again and calm my farm.
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These prizegivings and graduations are a little hard on the emotions too; earlier this week, my oldest completed his first year at high school. Only 10 months ago I, and the other parents, along with our slightly nervous boys, was welcomed on site with a powhiri before sitting in the hall behind our sons.
As the Year 13 boys on stage sung their welcome, I remember it occurring to me then that they were not boys – but grown men and we were releasing our 12-year-old boys to the school to be turned out as men like the ones in front of us.
A lot has happened in 10 months and my boy and his peers soon found their place within the school … and they now sound like those men!
Not to mention my son's new favourite playful dig, which starts with a random chuckle.
"What?" I will ask.
"You're so short," he smiles, gazing down at me from his now great height.
For all this age group's rowdiness and bravado banter during class, there's something truly magic about when they all pull together to perform a rousing haka as one, and I'd be surprised if anyone in that room this week wasn't moved by it. And, with the number of high-achievers who went up on stage, there must have been many proud families and teachers.
The following day was my twins' graduation. This was particularly emotional because my family has long had ties with Onerahi Primary School, beginning with my mother going through the school, followed by me and my siblings and now my children, not to mention my mum teaching there since I was there in the 80s.
So, unless I have grandchildren attend the school in future, it is the end of an era for now. As they stood tall with their fellow Year 6, intermediate-bound classmates, clutching their leavers' certificates, I thought back to the first day I walked my tiny twins to class.
Looking back at the story I wrote about their school debut, the first thing a then Miss Five reported upon pick-up was her brother not getting a growling all day "because he uses his inside voice now", before she proceeded to fill me in on all the kids who did get growlings.
This torrent lasted, in great detail, all the way home with Master Five interrupting at one point with his own input.
"Grrrr," growled his sister, clearly annoyed. "I hadn't finished!" And away she went again.
Finally she dried up and I asked her brother what he learnt that day.
"I learnt to write a capital I," he managed, before running inside.
On day two of school apparently Miss Five lamented: "Mum, I still don't know how to read or write!"
Now 11, she stood there proud and confident in her achievements after taking on many leadership roles. Her brother too, has many achievements to his name and both have represented the school on numerous occasions in sports and cultural performances.
Her brother still winds her up, they tell on each other on a daily basis and I'm fairly confident, as they enter the next chapter in their lives, this will continue.