I started this post about a month ago – and at that time, the end (in this case, the end of the school year) was very nigh indeed. In fact, it was so nigh that I was actually too busy to finish this post. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse galloped into town, stampeded over my life, and the end was upon me all too soon. Yes, my two older boys finished school in early June, leaving me with the prospect of ten weeks of their delightful company. It really felt like Judgment Day and I had been barred from heaven.
Thankfully, an unnamed genius (probably a mother herself) has invented something called “summer school”. These are the types of inventions that don’t attract Nobel Prizes, and yet definitely should. We should vote on these things. Higgs-Bosun particles: 354 votes from the scientific community. Summer camp: 354 million votes from worn-out mothers.
So, at the beginning of this week, I packed Lead Vocal and Air Guitar off to that utopia they call Summer School, did my happy dance when the bus disappeared around the corner, and resurrected my routine of peaceful mornings spent with The Cute One. (Thankfully, Drummer Boy’s pre-school gives me my money’s worth and keeps him occupied until the end of the month.)
My despair when the school term ended set me wondering: at what point do we stop celebrating the start of the new school year and start dreading the end of it? In my case, round about Easter. I knew the end of
my life the school year was approaching when I stopped putting important school events into my calendar. And stopped checking my calendar in case I found a school event in it that I had forgotten to forget putting in. By mid-May, my enthusiasm for assemblies and class parties had waned to dangerously low levels.
International Day came and went, and I stuck a T-shirt with a Union Jack on Air Guitar and pulled a face of disapproval when Lead Vocal donned a Liverpool FC strip. I mildly protested that Liverpool did not represent England or the United Kingdom, but could barely muster the energy to shake my head in despair when he started to explain why it was perfectly acceptable attire. I sent him off to school looking like a Scouse chav.
I briefly considered making English scones and sending them in with a pot of clotted cream and organic strawberry jam. But instead I bought three packs of imported Waitrose biscuits from our local grocery store and told Air Guitar that you couldn’t get more British than a chocolate bourbon. (I assume they are actually French in origin – I couldn’t even be bothered to check that on Wikipedia.)
But before you stone me for negligence, let me say I haven’t totally slacked off. I did buy teachers’ gifts. Quite nice ones, I thought. Okay, there was the little matter of the rather funky pencil case for the male teaching assistant… too late I realised that amid the suitably masculine design of dials and switches, there was an image of a button that was lit up red with the word “Horny” next to it. Slightly awkward. There was no time to return it to the shop. Thankfully, he’s leaving the country this summer.
This year, I give myself credit for not falling out with anyone over presents for the teachers. I tend to do my own thing rather than contribute to a class gift, but this doesn’t always sit well with the
power-hungry, self-appointed, extremely dedicated class mothers who want their minions to fall into line. Once, I foolishly raised my head above the parapet to question whether a photo-book of our darling children would really be the most envied gift in the staff-room – rather than, say, spa vouchers. “Hoooooooo-hooooooo!” Hear that, my friends? That’s the Arctic wind that blows in my direction when the afore-mentioned mother catches sight of my offending face in her vicinity.
So right now, I am enjoying a reprieve. The two older boys are at The Blessed School of Summertime Fun, boy #3 still happily trots into Nursery School each morning, and The Cute One is not being too rambunctious at home.
But all good things must come to an end, and by early July, all four boys will be home ALL DAY with me for the rest of the summer. Hmmm, hang on a minute… [Checks calendar, counts on fingers, bangs head on desk.] Only two more weeks of Summer School??? Realisation has dawned that the End is Nigh again! Which means this blog post is current once more. Oh, good! I don’t feel like such a slacker after all.