A week ago yesterday school broke up. On that last day of term I took my eldest (youngest in tow, as usual) to school, and the mood in the playground was celebratory. Children, and parents alike, were glad that the holidays were almost here. Yet there were tears too.

On the way to school I had noticed a mother sitting in her car, having already dropped off her child, crying secret tears. I guessed that she had a child in the last year of primary school and that this could well be her last school run.

Sigh… the last school run.

The move from primary to secondary school is a big one. There are many such moves, or transitions, in life and for those of us blessed with a sensitive soul they can be particularly fraught.

For mothers these periods of transitions — milestones if you will — are another reminder of things past… a phase in our child’s life that will never be repeated. And as much as we rejoice in their achievements and look forward to the good times in the future it is bitter, this cup.

There are many times that I’ve thought that I’d like to preserve my children, just as they are, right now. I would like this moment in time frozen, preserved forever, like the swirl of glass in a marble. For a happy childhood is a jewel indeed.

Yet it is not to be. And it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. This is what it is to be human.

But still… I long for control; to be more-than-human, to have the ability to speed up, or slow, or freeze time.

Yet it is not to be.

I can no more preserve this moment in time than a glass-blower can produce a marble without heat.


Marble, by Marija Smits

Marble, by Marija Smits



With many thanks to Amanda at Writealm for continuing to provide this writer with inspiration 🙂

And p.s. if you want to draw a marble like mine above, go check out: It is an absolute treasure-trove of useful art-related stuff!



9 comments on “Preserve

  1. […] Four years ago today I published a post about the bittersweet experience of watching our children go through certain milestones. You see, I’d seen a mother, sitting in her car outside of school, crying secret tears, because of an important milestone – the end of her child’s time at primary school. […]


  2. Marija, this is a beautiful tribute to mothers and children. I love your artwork!


    • Marija Smits says:

      Many thanks for stopping by to read and comment. It’s very much appreciated. As you can tell I’ve been a bit quiet blogging-wise recently, but I hope to write some more posts soon. I’m hoping to have a chance to read a bit more of your blog too. I hope your writing and art is going well. Best wishes, M x


  3. ana salote says:

    A happy childhood is a streak of colour inside, Marija. It is preserved through life. I do love the drawing and I’m going to have a go.


    • Marija Smits says:

      Very good point Ana – what a lovely way of looking at this theme of ‘preserve’ as a ‘preservation’ of childhood through life. And I’m glad you love the drawing. Do have a go yourself!


  4. I feel so lucky to be with mine all day every single day because I know just how quickly it passes. My heart goes out to that mama!


  5. Oops! I also meant to say, I love your marble : )


    • Marija Smits says:

      Thank you Janey for your thoughtful comments. And I’m glad the picture was a hit!

      It is hard to let go sometimes and there’s really very little consolation for us mothers. But sometimes just knowing that others have gone (or are going through the same experience) can help.


  6. Wow, this brought back so many memories and you had me crying. What true words you have written, describing many parents feelings exactly. The times I have wanted to preserve things just as they are but as you say it is no to be. I loved reading this and my heart went out to the mother crying in the car. Every stage in a child’s life is precious but it’s just so hard to let go sometimes xx


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