A funny thing happened on the way to school today… I seem to have lost my children.
Both of them. For the first time.
I came home to an empty house, silence for the first time in six weeks. Six long, full and crazy weeks, where I was either crouching down and hugging my children, standing between them holding them apart or hiding from them in the bathroom counting the days until school started!
Week one of the holidays was all about learning to live with one another again, setting boundaries (read, barbed wire fences between children) and creating activities to distract the little people from the long wait until the big red man arrived.
And what a loooong wait that was.
It did, however, finally happen for us all and we had a lovely few weeks enjoying the beach, the boat and the bounty that arrived via reindolphins.
Throw in a few weeks of New Year’s relaxation, with lazy pyjama days, baking sessions and swimming, and suddenly there’s only a week to go before school starts.
Frenzied shopping for school books, shoes to be broken in and last minute get-togethers with friends you won’t see for another 6 months. Tempers start to flare again as the anticipation grows, both on your part and the children’s.
The last few days and you suddenly realise you’re about to lose them so you spend that time doing wonderful family activities together, wishing you had a little more time, because actually, they’re really fun!
A last minute dash to the local shops for lunch products, a quick glass of champagne when they finally settle into bed the night before school and voila! The day arrives.
At 5am, the children are dressed and ready in their uniforms, and prepared for action! You’re showered and have all the lunches made by 6am, and then you have two and a half hours to twiddle your thumbs until the final walk to school, with your babies all dressed up, huge bags on their backs and an enormous box of stationery.
A quick run around the classrooms, meeting teachers, learning the little routines and taking photos, while greeting old friends and trying not to cry.
Then the bell goes. You’re hustled out quickly after final goodbyes. Some children cling and others have forgotten your name already. Either way, you suddenly realise that this is it. They’re gone and you’re left to face a different kind of future, whether it’s back to work, or back to an empty house.
Just like that.
Hopefully, your tears dried quickly and you did something to celebrate the fact that you made it through the holidays successfully and got to school on time, at least for their first day. And that your little ones aren’t so little anymore.
Know that they are in wonderful hands, and are about to have the time of their lives. Rollercoasters are like that, you know… anticipation, fear, excitement and thrills. Oh, and perhaps a little bit of sickness! But they’ll be fine and so will you.
Besides which, in the time that I’ve written this, they’ve had a whole day at school and the bell’s about to go – fastest day on earth!
Happy New School Year everyone! It’s going to be a great one!
Caylie writes weekly essays on her blog, Distractions of a Busy Mother, to help people feel less alone through shared laughter, tears and inspiration. She works to transform everyday events into vivid sketches, showing an understanding of what parents, women and people in the community are going through.
Her first book, Bedtime Stories for Busy Mothers, is now available for purchase online, at selected books stores and via her website.