Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Summer Reflections

The Summer Holidays are all but over and tomorrow, my little girl has her first day at school. Brand new uniform waits on its hangers for the big day and shiny new shoes are ready to take little feet on some big steps. She is eager to learn and excited about the new adventure. For me it will take some adjusting - driving to school each day instead of  the pleasant walk we had for her Nursery and then the whole day without her instead of collecting her at lunchtime. I am looking forward to more one-on-one time with my two year old son and maybe even the opportunity to accomplish some of the things on the DIY to-do list that hasn't seen much crossed off it over the last six weeks.

When I finished University nearly three decades ago, I didn't have the slightest clue what I wanted to do next. My daughter Ivy found herself in the same situation after graduating this year. She came back home to take stock and make a plan. I thought I was fully aware of all the potential pitfalls of having a child used to independence returning to the family home. There were problems with her not having a space of her own and the inevitable depressing feeling that coming home is a backward step. Being aware of the problems did not make them any easier to deal with. Ivy has always been highly strung and emotional and we have had a really tough time trying to help her make sense of her life. It has been a huge drain on everyone's energy. We had a mammoth house change around so that Ivy could have her own room. One of the upshots of this was that my little boy has swapped his cot for a single bed. He loves it. The cot is packed away in my newly boarded loft (one of the DIY projects that I can cross off the list) just in case any of my older children should decide to make me a grandparent. Ivy now has a job in a lovely country pub (in the same village where my little girl's new school is) and she is saving up to go travelling.

This has been an important summer for my daughter Taylor as she anxiously awaited her A level results upon which her future hinged. She did exceptionally well, securing herself a place at her first choice University to study maths. Up until the firm offer of a place, the idea of University was simply that - an idea. Suddenly, it was a reality. Her worries about leaving home, leaving her boyfriend and taking on the huge challenge of University are plainly evident. I know that once she settles in she is going to have an amazing time but I also suspect that initially, there will be some tearful goodbyes. We are doing all we can to help prepare her, including setting her and her boyfriend the task of cooking a three course meal for the two sets of parents (and themselves). They planned it, shopped for it, prepared it and served it - working together with efficiency and good humour. Apart from a timing error with some basmati rice that turned into basmati blancmange, the food was fantastic and they were both relaxed enough to be charming hosts too. The starter of vegetable potato cakes was absolutely delicious.

We made the decision not to go abroad on holiday this summer but we did enjoy some unexpectedly fantastic weather during a short break on the south coast which made up for it. We visited some beautiful places, spent time with family and friends and I fulfilled an ambition to dance at the glorious Tower Ballroom in Blackpool - all things that make it feel like time well spent.

Wasdale - The Lake District

The Summer Holidays are all but over.  I can't help but feel a little sad.  As for tomorrow - well tomorrow is a whole new day.

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