Boxer shorts: Fashion’s coolest are wearing underwear as outerwear this season
Boxer shorts: Fashion’s coolest are wearing underwear as outerwear this season

Sarah Finnan

Our favourite Irish acts performing at All Together Now next month
Our favourite Irish acts performing at All Together Now next month

Sarah Gill

Irish Design Spotlight: Leah Daria Art
Irish Design Spotlight: Leah Daria Art

Sarah Finnan

Join us for IMAGE Active’s Trail Run Club in beautiful Co. Wicklow
Join us for IMAGE Active’s Trail Run Club in beautiful Co. Wicklow

IMAGE

What to bake this weekend: Passionfruit cheesecake
What to bake this weekend: Passionfruit cheesecake

Megan Burns

My Life in Culture: Interior designer and artist Lana Dullaghan
My Life in Culture: Interior designer and artist Lana Dullaghan

Sarah Finnan

Unable to ‘switch off’ during the summer holidays? This will help
Unable to ‘switch off’ during the summer holidays? This will help

Jennifer McShane

Why it’s time to stop being ashamed of liking ‘girly’ things
Why it’s time to stop being ashamed of liking ‘girly’ things

Edaein OConnell

The 10 key biohackers you should have on your radar
The 10 key biohackers you should have on your radar

Melanie Morris

This six-bedroom home with a ‘a Christmas tree forest’ is on the market for €1.25 million
This six-bedroom home with a ‘a Christmas tree forest’ is on the market for €1.25...

Sarah Finnan

Image / Relationships

A letter to my daughter as she leaves primary school behind


By Amanda Cassidy
18th Jun 2023
A letter to my daughter as she leaves primary school behind

Long exhausting days, short beautiful years, writes Amanda Cassidy

 

All those carefully buttered sandwiches. Eight year’s worth of folding the bread and wrapping it exactly the way you liked. The brush running through your hair. The ritual of shooing you forward. Let’s go. Teeth! We are late. Do you have your hockey stick?

But amid the endless chaos of our mornings, I’d watch carefully, as you left the house, plaits gently swaying, bag on back, understanding that none of this lasts. Absorbing every last morsel of your fleeting childhood.

Over a thousand times I’ve swirled my signature on the pages of your homework notebook. Each day bringing us closer to this. The day you leave Primary school behind.

You sit on the kitchen island, long limbed and baby-faced and talk about everything and nothing. You casually do a handstand against the kitchen door. Later, you’ll huddle over your phone smirking. Part of your new world.

My big little girl.

When you were three, I pushed your buggy close to the huge school gates. You clung on with your little fists and watched the shouty bustle of the yard through the gaps.

This is where you’ll go to school, I told you, and you looked up at me with those giant blue eyes and trusted everything that was ahead of you. Even if it looked pretty wild from our shared view through those bars. Even though I knew it might sometimes let you down.

You are twelve now. Still wide-eyed about the world. Already planning your life far beyond those paint-peeling bars. New experiences stretch ahead. A world without gates or walls or anything to keep you confined. Or safe.

My heart wrestles with the magnitude of surrendering you to the rest of the world. You are so ready. But I’m not sure that I am. It’s tempting to keep you thethered to me. As safe as the straps that held you into your buggy that day.

As safe as your small hand held tight in mine on your first day of school.

I wrote notes in your lunchbox to secure you to me. Then came the daily updates about your day that you relayed to me. That was another invisible bond between us.

We’ll still have that hopefully. Even when you are forging your way out there in the sometimes turbulent world of secondary school. But I know that along with the new joy you’ll find, that you always find, you’ll have moments when there will be new challenges and I can no longer be there to catch you.

I’ll hold those silver threads that bond us so tightly looped around my heart, knowing that I’ve done everything I can to prepare you for what comes next.

But your gain is my loss. I guess that is motherhood –both hoping you’ll stay while also desperately needing you to fly.

I came across this poem by Linda Pastan that explains these feelings better than I can.

When I taught you

At eight to ride

A bicycle, loping along

Beside you

As you wobbled away

On two round wheels,

To my own mouth rounding

In surprise when you pulled

Ahead down the curved

Path of the park,

I kept waiting

For the thud

Of your crash as I

Sprinted to catch up,

While you grew

smaller, more breakable

with distance,

pumping, pumping

for your life, screaming

with laughter

the hair flapping

behind you like a

handkerchief waving

goodbye.