Back to school

With much wailing, knashing of teeth and beating of breasts, the time has come to acknowledge that summer is finally over. School is starting and the depression has sunk in. I’m talking about me of course. Daisy is fine… my little ray of sunshine actually told me the sun was shining inside her tummy she was so happy. It was me that was wailing and knashing and beating. My long lovely summer of lazy mornings in bed (reading to the girls I hasten to add, lazy mornings in bed by myself are a long lost lament..), lazy breakfasts in our pyjamas, picnics in the park, playdates and playgrounds has drawn to a chilly conclusion, and this morning’s early alarm clock declared my rude awakening that autumn is here and routine has come home to roost.

But it seemed there was another reason I was in my reluctant to return to school mode… I trussed her up in her new clothes and with one final lingering hug I tried to reassure her about her new playschool. “Come ONNNNN mummy!” she yelled impatiently and she struggled from my strangling hold, “I want to go, I want to go, I’m starting a new school!!” I washed over the table top again, I had another toilet trip, I tried to put the washing out …. “Come onnnn” she said through gritted teeth as she hurried me out the door. She skipped down the road and I dragged me feet. “Come Onnnnnnn mummy, I want to meet all my new friends!” I hung my head in dread. I was beginning to realise that this wasn’t the way it was meant to be playing out. Wasn’t I meant to be the happy one? Wasn’t SHE meant to be dragging her feet?

I had to finally acknowledge that it wasn’t just my fear of her starting a new playschool – my chats over the summer to explain that she wasn’t going back to her old playschool because we’ve moved house obviously doing the trick because she didn’t have one millisecond of doubt about starting all over again with new friends. With a shock I realised it was MY reluctance at having to make new friends all over again. It’s ME that has to make new friends with all the parents, remembering their names, their children’s names, their children’s sibling’s names, their husbands (wives) names – not easy when I can currently barely remember my cat’s name! It’s ME that has to look like a good calming, responsible parent rather than the chaotic, holding-it-together-by-a whisker wreck I normally am so that they will trust me with their children. …… so that I can leave MY children with THEM! You see, if I don’t make friends, then I don’t get to arrange playdates with like-minded good-parents-in-disguise, I don’t get to watch my child flourish in fruitful friendships, I don’t get to build those essential “can you pick Daisy up for me, I’m stuck in town” relationships that make life bearable! She’ll be a looser with no friends and it’ll be my fault and she’ll blame me for ever, and never speak to me, and end up putting me in a home when I’m old and frail. Forget exam pressure – parental pressure is much worse! Anyway, can’t hang about writing this. Must have a bath, wash behind my ears and go to bed early. It’s a school night.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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2 Responses to Back to school

  1. Sending you lots and lots of virtual moral support. I hope it get's a little easier for you as the month rolls on. Then hey, there's Hallowe'en, kicking through leaves, rosy cheeks and frosty windows to look forward to. x

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  2. cath c says:

    don't worry, the thing i've discovered after so many years of parenting is there are so many more of us out there 'faking it' hanging on by a thread, than there are those who are well-polished and wearing matching shoes…i mean besides them both being black. and i still am reconfirming names and asking forgiveness, endlessly.

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