School Days, Thinking Out Loud

To my children on the first day of school

Enjoy! I won’t cry, you won’t cry. That’s not our thing. No severe case of stiff upper lip, just a case of being a totally normal thing to happen at the start of September. I love that you love school, that you’re bright and a good friend.

You’ll get up to all sorts of exciting things this year. All of you. Trips and projects, odd crazes and funny stories. You’ll pick up fodder for anecdotes in your adult years. You’ll learn and you’ll grow.

I’m getting soppy. I should probably have started the school year as I mean to go on by laying out your uniforms and preparing your packed lunches but we’ll muddle through somehow.

And a special extra note for my step daughter: I hope you have a better first day than your dad did.

School Days, Thinking Out Loud

The Climb. Are they growing too fast?

The end of another school year is fast approaching. We’ve had the school reports and now come the moving on assemblies, leavers concerts and end of term summer productions* with photo montages and song choices selected with the sole aim of squeezing out parental tears of joy and pride.

The Climb** (by Miley Cyrus in the Hannah Montana era) gets me every year. The lyrics push me over the edge. I admit to crying every time they sing it. Turns out I’m a softy and a sucker for country pop. I’m also a sucker for a montage. It’s the best bit of any televised sports match and I love that we have the technology to do the same with our everyday non-sportsing lives.

Montage + uplifting song about overcoming obstacles + primary school children = weeping mess

That said, I’ve never been one for spouting “they’re growing too fast”, “I wish he was still a baby” and all that guff. They’re growing at the rate they’re supposed to. Thankfully. I love that they’re getting more independent because I’m lazy and they can do more for themselves. When they’re old enough and sensible enough to make you a cup of tea there’s a definite winning-at-life feel to the milestone. It’s a privilege to see them grow and develop. That’s what’s supposed to happen. Of course they were adorable when they were younger (even if in hindsight they were funny looking babies) but I don’t want to miss this stage in their lives or wish it away through some rose tinted nostalgia for the days when they were more dependent on me.

One of my favourite English teachers shared a poem with us in 6th form that stuck with me. Not so much that I actually remember the title or the poet but the archery analogy rings true. To make those we love fly as high and far as they can we have to use strength to pull them in close and steady but then we have to let them go, trust them to soar. Our kids have all had some sort of metaphorical mountain to climb this year so let’s celebrate those journeys and not fantasise about them morphing into their younger selves like Benjamin Button.

 

*A few weeks ago I asked my step daughter if she had a leavers concert. “No”, she told me and glared at me as though I’d suggested something utterly ludicrous. My husband later told me that we had tickets to go and watch her in a school show. I mentioned to her that I’d thought she wasn’t doing one. Following an audible sigh and a roll of the eyes she explained “it’s not a leavers concert it’s Summer Production” (yes, the capitals were also audible). It was brilliant whatever it was called.

**https://youtu.be/jpTYG_Sqqdg

School Days

Parents Evening

It’s parents evening week at my sons’ school. I don’t dread it half as much as my primary school teacher mate. I get to spend 10 minutes being bathed in praise for the little humans that we made. Which is nice. I liked school, my boys liked school, my boys’ teachers like my boys. I’m less keen on future high school parents evenings with their speed dating format and at least three subjects you didn’t even know were a thing.

Dropping my kids to school most mornings means I see their teachers and LSAs a fair bit. I’m not stressing about being judged by the teacher on parents evening (in Secret Teacher style)  because I’m sure they’ve already made their judgements. That said, I have brushed my hair and changed out of my leisure wear, just in case.

If my boys have an issue or I’m worried about something, the teacher and I can and do address it really quickly, not store it up for an arbitrary 10 minute sit down on miniscule chairs.

Mr VoG Mam isn’t able to make it today (poorly step daughter) which is probably for the best chair-wise. They’re not built for his bulk. My parents had their wedding reception in a primary school which has always conjured up images of wedding guests with the knees of their flares up their moustachioed nostrils.

I did have to do that I’m-a-terrible-mother thing of postponing the 4 year old’s parents evening until after half term because a work meeting moved dates. But, you know what? Both the boys’ teachers are also working mums of primary aged children so they get it (I hope).

I’m toying with a parents evening bingo of phrases like “unique sense of humour”, “a pleasure to teach”, “a credit to you”, “gets on with everyone”, “numerical reasoning” and possibly “who?”.

If they’re friendly and working their hardest then I’m happy. Same goes for both the teachers and the boys.