Last weekend of the holidays
The last weekend of the holidays. Easter seems an age ago, the eggs long eaten, the last scraps of coloured foil from trouser pockets scraped out of the bottom of the washing machine. One boy is back at his state school already and we are into the routine of gym bag, piano lessons, homework. The other has mooched about the house while I try to think up things he can do which don’t involve staring at a screen all day.
This Saturday morning the boys are outside, constructing what they call an assault course from the swings and slide. This mostly seems to involve one of them scrambling from one side of the climbing frame to the other without touching the ground, by means of ropes, while the other tries to unbalance him by fair means or foul. It’s blustery today, but just warm enough at last for them to be out there without their mother fretting about their lack of coats.
While they are happily occupied away from computer games, I am caught up in end-of-holiday jobs. I have scoured town for acceptable boys’ slippers. I have dithered about where on earth to sew name-tapes onto said slippers, and finally scrawled initials on their soles with black marker pen. (Will the matron tut-tut at my slovenly ways? Do I care?)
I have got the huge pile of laundry washed, if not yet ironed. I have taken delivery of a pile of new uniform to replace outgrown versions, and have reminded myself again that tonight I really must unpick the name-tapes from the old items and sew them onto the new, before it’s too late and I have to send elder son back to boarding school half-naked. I have remembered and forgotten, remembered and forgotten to take him for a haircut. Oh well, at this rate his sideburns will soon be long enough to cover his state of undress.
Meanwhile we have invited friends for tea today, so I have spent some of the morning baking a lemon drizzle cake. A delicious smell of warm cake fills the kitchen. I love the smell of something cooking in the oven: it signals that I have Achieved Something with the day; plus I get to enjoy it later! That’s pretty much having my cake and eating it, isn’t it?
Saturday evening. I have just finished the pile of name-tape sewing – yess! – while watching a sappy film on the box, so my child will return to school decently covered after all. Like almost all mothers, I spend half the holidays longing for school to begin again so that I can have please God just five minutes’ peace: like almost all mothers, my heart sinks at the start of term. It should get easier, sending your child back to boarding school each term, but it doesn’t. If anything, it gets harder. I want to kidnap him from school, hide him under the duvet, imprison him with hugs and kisses. I can hardly bear to think what it will be like when I have to send both the boys off to boarding school. If we didn’t honestly believe that this option offered them the best and happiest opportunities for their education, we couldn’t stand it for a moment.
According to the psychologist I’ve been seeing, I am a bit too ‘stiff upper lip’. I need to let it all hang out more, or something. Funny, because here on Dancing Beastie I feel like it all hangs out quite a lot.
Talking of which, there is some cake left over for tea tomorrow. That’ll help fuel the afternoon’s ironing. And I might even let the boys have some.