Today marks the start of the first full week back to school for our two. The eldest is in Year Six (the emotions I have about this are for another post); and the youngest has just started Year Three, so I have TWO kids in Juniors....!!
The start of term always seems like a bit of a whirlwind: last minute shoe shopping; trying on uniform to see what fits and what we need more of; getting hair cuts; squeezing in last minute play dates; and then bundling out of the door on the first day, hoping that we've at least remembered the important stuff.
So the first two days back (Thursday, Friday last week) seemed a bit like a practice run; and that today marks the real start of the term.
And here I sit.
In my office (with my Thomas The Tank Engine curtains ;-) It used to be the nursery and then play room). And it is quiet.
I can hear the quiet buzz of my laptop fan, people shutting car doors outside, the planes approaching Heathrow, me typing and that's it.
No 7YO playing dollies in her room.
No "Hey Siri, play Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello Señorita - on repeat" playing.
No screeching from one or both of the girls, teetering in the middle between delight and hate, between enjoyment and torture, between friends and enemies.
No camps being made.
No artwork being done.
I am on my own.
In the tidy silence.
(Well... tidy(ish) silence... I still need to clear round the aftermath of breakfast and leaving for school. But you know what I mean....)
I too, am sure to have a little cry in the tidy silence.
Don't get me wrong, I am so relieved to have some peace and quiet. It's great to be able to hear myself think, to hear my own voice, my own thoughts.
And whilst the house is quite tip-like when I get back from drop-off, from the morning whirlwind, if I put something away, it stays there. Plus I don't walk downstairs (or even into my bedroom!) and find someone cutting, sticking, colouring and sometimes even painting!! AND... that same person doesn't then get bored and wander off, leaving a trail of artistic debris behind them, on to the next (messy) game ;-)
I miss them. I really do.
I didn't think I would get to this point.
I found motherhood in the early years so hard. So full-on, so all consuming. It took all I had... and then some more.
So when the girls went to nursery, I did miss them, but I needed the break from mummying more.
And then, when the girls were Two and Four, we upped sticks and moved to California.
We arrived on the Friday and Hubby started work on the Monday.
There I was with two jet-lagged kids, in a temporary apartment, not knowing anyone or anywhere. It was SO HOT, from so early in the day. I had to drive to get anywhere. And I had to drive on the other side of the road. And school wasn't starting for another seven weeks.
But I did it.
I googled the hell out of those seven weeks and that area. I made friends with a mum in a park and met up with her and her kids regularly. I signed the kids up for a summer gym class. We did a scavenger hunt around the local independent shops, organised by a small local bookshop. We joined the library. We found shady parks.
We did it. I did it. I survived. I think I even thrived. After that summer, I felt that if I could do that, I could do anything.
And so the next three Summers of ten-week summer holidays seemed not only manageable, but enjoyable.
I had to get into a different rhythm. I had to let go of trying to achieve anything work-related. But once I done that, it was great.
Having an enforced break feels both frustrating and healthy at the same time.
So now we're back in the UK, these six week summer holidays seem too short in comparison. I feel like we're just about hitting our stride and getting our rhythm, and then we're back at school.
I miss our little trio.
I miss taking them out for the day.
I miss pottering around the house and snuggling on the sofa for an afternoon movie.
That said, I should enjoy my Tidy Silence shouldn't I? Because before I know it, Half-Term will be here won't it? And I can enjoy my Messy Noise then ;-)
How's your Back to School going? What are you enjoying / missing the most?
As ever, with love from our family to yours,
p.s. Thanks for reading! As with every small business, I do depend on you for likes and shares to keep The Contented Company popping up in people's feeds.