ETA: I thought I had posted this earlier this week - only to find it still in my Blogger edit box!
7 September. The start of a new school year. The date has been imprinted on my mind for the last 6 weeks.
This year was the first year I carried on working through the summer holidays. I am very lucky in that I have a certain flexibility in my work hours - as long as I end up doing my hours, it doesn't matter too much when they get done (within reason of course). In previous years I reduced my hours during the holidays, but with I. and N. getting older and needing less input from me, and having worked through half terms, I thought this year I'd give it a try.
As expected, it's been hard work. Very hard work. I have been tired beyond belief. I have wanted to hit the alarm-clock in the mornings and roll over and go back to sleep. I have dragged myself kicking and screaming to the computer after the kids had gone to bed. At times, it seemed all I did was run after myself trying to keep up.
But, we had a good time too. We didn't have time for long outings but we managed the odd coffee here, a visit to an antiques place there. We walked miles with the part-time dog. The kids learnt that if you want something, sometimes you have to work for it, and sometimes you need to help out at home just because you all live in the same house and everybody has to pull their weight. They read a lot, they baked a lot, they made me coffee a lot and towards the end of the break they started to argue a lot. 9yo especially was very ready to see some other people than just his parents and his sister, to be a bit more challenged again. Shoes, ties, shirts, trousers were bought and tried on. Stricter bedtimes were reinforced again (under much protest).
And then suddenly it was the last day of the holidays. It was wet, wild and windy. We stayed in our pjs all day and slowly it began to dawn on me that despite looking forward to having a routine and some time to myself again, it was going to be very quiet and empty around here too.
This morning we stood at the bus stop at 7.30 am and I was struck not by how big 9yo looked in his new shirt and tie, ready to start his new school, but more by how much 12yo has grown up in the three years she has attended the same school. And I realised once again that as they get older, they become better company all the time, and how much I'll miss having my little people around.