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It’s ‘Back to School’ Eve, and I’m waiting for the terror to set in.
Usually it does. For many years, my school holidays have consisted of several lovely days (although the BEST day is the FIRST one), followed by gradually escalating days of depression and woe, culminating in one last, mournful, ‘execution-eve’ Sunday.
But something has changed. I now have children of my own. And, as a teacher, although term time means I have to go back to school, it ALSO means my children have to go back to school.
I used to allow work to hang over me like Edgar Allan Poe’s lethal pendulum, but I made a liberating decision at the beginning of the holidays to spend some quality time with my family. That DOESN’T mean going to museums and picnics, with my own personal thunder cloud poised above my head. It means putting school and work in a box, locking it in a dark room, and leaving it there until I’m ready to deal with it.
Surprisingly, it worked rather well.
We did some lovely things – we sunbathed, went for long walks on a grassy common, had ice-cream, went to the cinema, received dear friends to stay, had a huge Easter lunch with family, ate out at pubs, visited friends who lived in a beautiful house right by the sea, went for long walks on the beach, jammed with friends, and made origami hats to celebrate Children’s Day which is fast approaching.
I also managed to go ‘OUT’ out, dance, and drink myself to illness with a pathetically small amount of alcohol. Not my finest hour, but interesting, in the way all new experiences are interesting! (Did I mention that Japanese people don’t deal with alcohol too well?)
With my son starting his last term in Y7 and my daughter fast approaching the end of primary school, I am aware of time speeding by with astonishing ease. It won’t be long before my children no longer want to spend much time with me during school holidays, and only a skip and a jump until they are exploring the world on their own. I don’t want to sit here feeling dazed and cheated, wondering why I didn’t spend more time with them when I had the chance.
So. That’s my excuse for postponing my work.
I’d be lying, however, if I said I wasn’t a teeny bit relieved to be going back to the routine. I like routines. I might push the boat out, and even suggest that term time is restful compared to holidays… My ridiculous need for control is thwarted when we lurch from day to day, blissfully unaware of the date or time, eating weird concoctions from the fridge, or calorific platefuls in restaurants and pubs.
I have done SO LITTLE exercise. The gibbering, rabbit-like fusspot that lives inside my head keeps trying to pop up, bemoaning the tightness of my jeans, drivelling about the muscle mass I must be losing, blubbering about the inefficiency of paying for gym membership and using it only twice this month. However, I’ve been getting quite adept at bopping that irritating creature on the head every time it starts yammering. I know the jeans-tightness is temporary. I’m not going to waste precious energy worrying about it.
The lunches are made, the uniforms are washed, the bags are packed.
Time to open that box, I reckon.