There’s not much in the way of fiction brewing down here in ‘Tales’. Instead, in what should have been a weeklong creative push ahead of six weeks of school holidays, the time is vanishing before my eyes as though somehow it’s been hot-wired to pass quicker than normal. I’m not writing, I’m sighing and wringing my hands. Why? Because at the end of this week my eldest baby finishes primary school, and so here endeth a long chapter.
Now, if you’d said to me even last week I’d be one of those red-eyed mamas weeping over their child moving onto the next stage in life, I’d have scoffed and said “are you mad? It’s great he’s leaving. I mean, high school is just so much more exciting. I’m pleased he’s leaving. Cry? Me? Bah. As if.”
But here in the grey light of morning, with the end looming, I’m not nearly so cocky. Tomorrow I’ve got to get through the traditional weep-fest that is the ‘Leaver’s Assembly’. Oh how I laughed at my friend who wailed through an entire roll of toilet paper during her daughter’s. How pathetic, I cackled; how ridiculous. But now I’m eyeing up the stash of toilet rolls in my cupboard, and wondering if she had the right idea.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to miss screeching down country lanes at top speed, horribly late twice a day on the school run. (He’ll catch the school bus, and youngest son goes off in a taxi.) I’m not going to miss the ‘dress-up days’ and jolly school fundraisers, the school politics, and the cliquey cattishness of the school gate. But having said all that, I’ve made some really good friends while the boys were at primary school, and, working from home, I’m going to miss ‘touching base’ with familiar faces each day. In fact, I’m imagining it’s going to be rather like the aftermath of my defunct marriage; you don’t particularly like each other, but you still miss each other once you’re apart. Strange, but true.
My boy tells me he feels happy and sad. He is wildly excited to be moving on to high school, but wistful at the thought of finishing this chapter. It’s not the days he and his friends are counting down now, but the hours. And sure, I will still be chief cook and laundry-maid, but once he starts high school, I won’t be involved in the way parents are involved in primary school. It’s going to be nice to relinquish responsibility for what he gets up to in school, but it is going to be weird to have no contact with teachers and other parents, to have to rely on him remembering to tell me what I need to know. He doesn’t have a good track record on this front.
I’m guessing that if you’re either child-free or have younger children, and you’ve even read this far, your eyes will be sore from rolling, and you’ll be wearing the look of disbelief I myself would have been sporting if I’d read this garbage elsewhere last week. But this week it’s real; it’s happening to me. My boy is moving on. Everything is changing. And, for the time being, this is the only story I can write. Sigh…