This Sunday, my big girl leaves for boarding school. As ever, the first-born is sent forth to test the waters, to pave the way for her siblings who will follow.
First day of a "residential transition" period, which continues through until Wednesday. Excited as we all are, for it marks the beginning of what I'm sure will be an amazing experience for Sarah, there is of course a tinge of sadness for this mother, and perhaps one younger sister in particular.
Sadness that she's growing up and moving on. Just as there was sadness the first day she was left at primary school, the beginning of a new life-stage inevitably involves the ending of another.
I well remember driving home from school that first day, Jessie, Wallace and Sally all strapped in car seats along the back seat. Having closed the gate and hopped back in the car, I looked back to see Jess with tears streaming down her face. And I think perhaps that sister will again be a little lost as next year unfolds.
We are some of the very, very fortunate ones, close enough to town that Sarah will have the option to come home every weekend. Of course, many don't. Those further afield leave their babies at school at beginning of term, only to see them again next holidays. So we count our blessings.
And Wednesday, Sarah will be home, to tell us all the tales of her first experience away.
And we will be happy. And proud. And grateful that every stage of this journey with Sarah has been an absolute delight.