This is what the end of Year One looks like.
Sweetest Max had his last day of school today, ready for the big long Christmas holidays. This week, not only did he bring home a report card saying how well he has improved in all areas of school, and how popular and kind he is ... he also got his school photos.
I was horrified.
He noticed them straight away too .... "Ummm, mum - what are those things under my eyes?"
"They are called bags, sweetheart. You must have been very tired. You have had a very, very big year and I am so proud of you!"
Can you imagine, being six ... waiting all year for your mum to go into hospital to have a baby, then suddenly bang! Daddy gets 'yucky lumps' so he has to go down to a different hospital. So, you have both parents in two different hospitals. (Enter amazing aunties). Then mummy comes home (with a new baby that unfortunately cried a lot in the early days) but for a while there, we didn't know when daddy would come home ... if at all.
And you are just six. Or, six and a half and three quarters, as Max always would say.
No wonder I threw him the biggest and best seventh birthday party any of his friends had ever seen. Jumping castle, presents, pinata, fancy dress, 20 children ... everything. (I had a panic attack ten minutes before the party started, luckily my sister whipped out her trusty rescue remedy.)
What I'd really like to have given him for his birthday is this year back, but I can't. And the better we all get, the more I realise how much he has matured and learnt this year. He grew up when I was busy having numerous meltdowns.
And he is ok ... more than ok. This afternoon, I went to his school to pick him up. All the children were making a guard of honour for the year six pupils, who will be starting high school next year. The principal read the names out, one by one, as they all filtered through, crouching under the outstretched hands ... I was almost sobbing. I don't even know any year sixes! Luckily I had my sunnies on. I watched Max, and my heart felt sore, I loved him so. One day he will be in year six .. one day he will be a man. I doubt he'll have another year quite like this one ... I think I was crying because this year is almost over.