Today is a landmark day. It is my littlest boy's first trial session at big school. He's been ready for this day for a full year to be honest, I certainly have been, but now that it's arrived I find myself in tears.
He woke up this morning, with ants in his pants and brimming with excitement. Displaying no first day nerves, he managed to scoff down three pieces of toast and a bowl of strawberries before shooting upstairs to clean his teeth, make his bed and get himself dressed in his big school uniform - all before 7.30am. With no nagging. Remarkable.
Seeing him in his little grey shorts and school shirt, knobbly knees on show, hair sticking up in all directions, I just wanted to grab hold of him and never let go. There he stood, my baby, tucking his shirt in so that he looked smart, brimming with confidence, ready to take on the world. That feeling right then - that love and pride and sadness and joy - all rolled into one is what it means to be a mother.
As we approached the school to drop off his brother, his confidence gave way as people started to comment on how smart and grown up he looked. The more people looked at him, the more he burrowed into my thigh, blushing furiously and looking as though he wished the ground would swallow him.
Then we had a repeat performance as I dropped him at pre-school. You could tell that he and his little friend were torn between being super proud of their big boy uniforms, wanting to show them off, and not wanting all the attention that was coming their way.
I'll be taking him to school after lunchtime for his first taste of the next 12 years of his life. I know it will be an easier transition than I had for son1, who had to face a complete unknown while suffering from an extreme fear of new situations. You can read about that joyous day here. But it's still a huge step for a little person and I sense there will be some clinging later.
However, while it might be one huge step for son, it's a giant leap for mum. Very, very soon I will officially have two school aged children. I'll no longer be the mum to a baby, toddler or pre-schooler. Life should in theory get easier.
But I still can't help feeling sad. The worst part is that I know these feelings are so utterly unoriginal. Most mothers feel this way when their youngest child heads off to big school. It's just another rite of passage you go through. It's not unusual or earth shattering. It just is. Doesn't make it any easier to deal with though.
So I've tried to think about why it feels so sad. It's not that I wish for another baby. I'm definitely a mother who enjoys her children more as they get older. I didn't do the baby thing well. But watching children grow up really emphasises how fast the years gallop by. You get them for such a fleeting time. This journey of motherhood is short but extremely intense.
Every new step they take is worth celebrating - whether its with tears of happiness or sadness - because it's not just their chance to experience something new or leave behind something old, it's yours too. So to all the mums out there with littlies going off to big school soon, live the experience to the full. Because it's part of your life journey too.
I might just stock up on tissues for the beginning of September. I think I'm going to need them.