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  • Esme Clarke

The World is Your Oyster.

My eldest son has his last day in primary school this week. On Friday afternoon, I'll be heading to his Leavers' Assembly with a massive box of tissues (for me and his dad). Our son and his friends have spent the last few weeks practicing songs and preparing videos, filled with their memories, their achievements and their hopes. It's the last time they'll all be together as a year group before heading off to pastures new. In just a matter of weeks, they'll start in new schools across our hometown.

And yet, it doesn't seem like that long ago my husband and I brought him home from the hospital, wrapped in a baby blanket and carefully placed in his car seat. Where did those years go?

For the last few weeks, my son has veered between excitement and nervousness, while I've veered between pride at how he has grown, excitement for his future and all the emotions of my baby growing up.

I remember holding his hand as I walked him to school for the first day. Remember crying as I left him (me, not him, he walked into the nursery beaming, while I melted into an emotional puddle). He's made an amazing group of friends and I've had the privilege to watch as they've grown together. I've seen their strength and resilience when dealing with the whole Covid nightmare. I witnessed the joy on their faces when they saw each other for the first time when schools reopened. They've been through so much together, and now they'll take their next steps in the world.

What do I wish for our brilliant class of '23? What advice would I give them?

Above all, I wish them happiness. Happiness in their lives, their friendships, their school life and one day in their future work, whatever that may be.

I hope they get to follow their dreams, no matter how big or small.

Be themselves. Embrace what makes them unique and to love their quirks.

Health. Goes without saying really.

To not fall prey to social media and the idea of the "Instagram Life". Life has its ups and downs, that's to be expected. As The Lego Movie 2 wisely states, 'things can't be awesome all of the time'. That's ok. That's normal.

To know that as a teenager, they will make decisions about what subjects to study. These decisions will guide them along particular paths to future jobs. But somewhere along the way, they may realise that there is a different path for them, that what they chose at 16, may not be what they want or need at 25, or 30, or even 40. It's ok to change your mind. You can always learn something new. There's no time limit on learning.

It's ok to not be ok. You know, those times when the black cloud descends and everything seems that bit colder and lonelier? In those moments I'd tell them to speak with someone you trust, someone who can help you find the sunshine again. I promise it's there, waiting for you just beyond the storm you are currently facing.

Finally, know that you are loved. So, so much.

Good luck to all the Year 6 kids across the UK, and to kids everywhere moving on to their next adventure. The world is your oyster. To their mums, dads and carers; you've got this. Just remember the tissues on Friday.

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