OK, so I have maybe stretched a point with the title of this blog, but I couldn’t just end it with ‘leaving’, could I?
The end of the summer term is here. The hubs is in the kitchen cooking curry, A and L are sprawled upon the sofa, still in uniform, slowly discussing the events of the day in little dribs and drabs. Sam is upstairs, music is cascading in a torrent from his open door, and I, sitting at a little table, am steadily ignoring the domestic chaos and tippy tapping the computer keyboard instead.
Just like all the other years, I have made it to the end of July by the skin of my teeth. Like every other year, the last three weeks have been dominated by sports days, school reports, the mad dash to buy gifts and cards of thanks, school plays and the emotion of final assemblies, albeit this year from the parental edge rather than the staff centre. This year, my heart strings have been twanged by just three children, rather than thirty-odd of them.
This year has been significant in its leave taking. L has reached the end of Year 6. She has just this moment stepped over the threshold of her primary education, and I find myself wondering whether she will join the ranks of girls who insist on wearing thick black tights, whatever the weather, or whether she will carry on with socks and cool comfort. And Sam, he has made the biggest change of all; today he left his special school, ready to take up a place at the local mainstream college.
To his credit (and possibly his teachers have had something to do with it too), he is far more prepared for the move than I. He left with a cheery wave and a ‘see ya!’, while I was required to hurry up and tag along, wiping away the unbidden tear. He is satisfied that College will mean exciting times and growing up (and, to be fair, I went to a college, and I had an awesome couple of years of growing up and having fun), and I, ever anxious, am worried that his timetable doesn’t seem to have much maths and English in it. We are entering a new era indeed.
It has been a slow process, this leaving, a bit like when you finally release yourself from the clutches of a sticking plaster, pick by pick. A house move, new schools for A and L; it has been a long time coming. When I look back, I can trace its roots, its beginnings, to over a year ago, to the moment when I realised that I could no longer stay on at my school, that the time had come for me to go.
I haven’t really written about it, not in an open way (I wrote this with a friend – and then all my best sentences got cut!) I haven’t known what to say. There is a mixed-up feeling of loss and relief, and it’s hard to untangle. Instead of trying to tease it out, to make meaning through writing, I’ve left it; an undisturbed scab. I haven’t been in a school, except in a parental capacity in almost a year and I’ve been glad.
So now, like my children, instead of focusing on the pain of what is left behind, I’m turning my face towards the future. It’s a new college and school for them – and me.