Thursday, 1 September 2011

The 'back to school' blues...

Finally, the kids are back at school.  Here at home, it’s just me and the dogs.  They’re giving me the eye… like I’m some terrible wicked woman that has deprived them of their playmates.

The school drop off was pandemonium.  Finding the new classrooms and class teachers, squeezing along narrow corridors with all the other parents.  Remembering not to embarrass the kids by kissing them in public.  And finally, but most importantly, discovering whether they’re in the same class as all their friends.

What seemed like a scarily long holiday has suddenly raced by and I have the horrible feeling I get at the end of every summer.  A churning feeling in the pit of my stomach, that I remember from my own childhood. 

Now, as an adult, the start of a new school year represents another little milestone on the road to my children’s independence and adulthood.  And it makes me feel sad, because I actually really “like” my kids and enjoy their company.  I feel excited for them when they are able to start doing more “grown up” things, because I can see the thrill it gives them.  But I would also quite like to keep them as they are now, for a little bit longer.  To enjoy those little moments of childhood intimacy.  A congratulatory hug, for getting all their spellings right.  Climbing onto their beds to give them that big hug, squeeze and kiss before they go to sleep, or cuddling them on the sofa whilst they watch a movie.

It’s been a while since the kids disallowed me from kissing them publicly, so I’m used to that.  But I can see that the eldest is now fighting an inner battle.  He doesn’t want me to go into school to help him find his classroom.  “That’s embarrassing, Mum.”  But at the same time I can see he’s worried… and I have to let him go and work it out for himself.  It’s hard to watch, when you want to just go and “make it better”.

But hand in hand with the increasing independence they are gaining, comes more and more freedom for me.  It is, of course, a natural progression.  And in my currently single state, it gives rise to the possibility of having time for “someone else”, should they happen to knock on my door.  That has to be a good thing, because when they finally leave home, I would hate for them to worry about me being alone.  And to be honest, I would hate to be alone.

I was discussing this whole issue with a friend the other day.  And I commented that I hope, even when the kids are teenagers, they will still want to crawl into bed with me on Sunday mornings, to watch cartoons in bed.

He pointed out that by that stage, they will have other ways of showing their affection.  And it is also a possibility the man of my dreams could by lying beside me!   Well, it’s a nice thought.  But I remember back to my late teens, when I spent a short while living with my Aunt and cousin.  She would call us “girls” down in the morning.  We all piled into her bed and watched the news drinking mugs of tea.  All these years later, I still have fond memories of it.

So when they’re all grown up and doing their own thing, I do hope that occasionally, they’ll pile into bed on a Sunday morning.  And if the man of my dreams is there too?  Well, if he really is “the man”, surely he’ll “get it”, and if he doesn’t “get it” he’ll just get on with it!  And you never know, if he’s that great, he might not even mind popping downstairs and making us all a cup of tea?! 

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