Sharing thoughts on the first day of school and finding the beauty in the ordinary moments | by Cambridgeshire photographer Diana Hagues

The morning ritual – it's funny when you look back on a moment how certain things that were once overlooked take on a new meaning. The things you live day-in day-out that become ordinary everyday moments of your day. I am talking about our morning routine here, but it could be applied elsewhere in our day. Things like the custom of getting dressed and sitting down for breakfast. It's a routine we carry out and yet it is a moment in our lives, a story when documented and seen on a different day, takes on a different meaning.

Breakfast at the table | Day-in-the-life documentary Cambridge

Maybe I am feeling in a reflective mood. I have reason to be so. It has been a little over a week since my boys went back to school. For some, the process of getting back into a routine after the long summer break, even if a chore, is a normal one. For us it was a bit of a momentous day, as my youngest was starting his first day in reception. I had dreaded and anticipated this day would come, but on the day itself, there was much excitement, mainly because he was keen to join his older brother at school. The transition sessions they had for the new reception pupils before the summer had prepared them for this first day.

My alarm clock was all set for that Wednesday morning. I was already awake before it went off, as I could hear the boys getting out of bed and running down the stairs. Even in the summer, they would get up early. That morning, they got dressed into their school uniform by themselves after some milk and cartoons, before going downstairs again for breakfast.

Day-in-the-life morning getting dressed for school by Diana Hagues photography Cambridge photographer

I should say that our mornings are not normally like this, and indeed, it has become more chaotic since then with the usual panic to get everyone out of the door to get to school on time. But that first morning was much calmer. I had wanted to pick up my camera to document one of our mornings for a while and somehow picking this day to capture those moments as they got ready for school seemed like a good time to do so.

Looking at the pictures now, more than a week on, I have been recounting the scenes from that morning. I see the small details like seeing all the bath toys lined up all around the bath as I sat on the side brushing one of the children's teeth. Or I see the attentive care my oldest is giving to his younger brother by helping him with his school uniform. I also smile as I see the Pickachu toys that we had only bought the day before in a Build-a-Bear workshop in Cambridge, which the boys had wanted to take with them on the ride to school, sat on the stairs behind them as they put on their shoes. Some of these scenes look similar from day-to-day, but none of the details are always the same everyday.

Morning routine tooth brushing | Cambridge home day-in-the-life photography
Pikachu toys watch on as boys put on shoes | morning routine in day-in-the-life photography

As I reflect on the small wonder of how my little boy, the baby of the family, had made it so quickly to this point of going to school, I feel a little sentimental and an emptiness inside. But I find comfort in reliving the memories of our everyday moments, which now takes on new significance as I pass through the quietness of my day.