This week gardener and writer Debbie Webber discovers that when the children go back to school everything changes but stays the same....
Very, very soon I shall have an empty house. Well, not properly empty in that flown-the-nest-to-university kind of way but rather not nearly so full.
All five of the children will be out come Monday, some of them all of the time and the youngest for just two days.
To say I am not happy about this would be lying. There used to be a time when I was one of those (annoying) women who go misty eyed, tilt their heads and say "oh, but I miss them so much when they go back to school. Sigh. I just love the holidays".
Well, yes, times change and the family grows. I love the holidays too. But I'm also rather fond of my sanity and, come September, it's nice to be reunited with it.That isn't to say I shall be bored and wondering what to do. Oh no, I have a long list, much of it involving the allotment, the garden, working and "sorting out the house" which is obviously a big job and one that encompasses quite a bit.
September actually feels like the start of my new year, a throw back to my school days. My list is not called a To Do but rather Plans and Projects.
It is growing at an alarming rate and includes "exercise three times a week" and "bake bread regularly". Those items are starting to sound a bit like New Year Resolutions, which I'm not terribly keen on.
I think that's what having a new start does to you. Although my youngest has previously gone to playgroup for two mornings this is his last year before school and it feels different.
He will be out more often and when he is home it will be just us two. A time of endings but new starts, as all of motherhood is.
To get into the swing of it we headed off , just him and me, to one of the many coffee shops in town. It was lovely. No-one for him to argue with, no one else for me to keep my eye on.
Well, nearly no-one else. My little one seems to be feeling the change too and has now taken to carting his bedtime toy around everywhere, which is quite anxiety inducing for me but blissful for him.
The once white mouse is looking decidedly grey. It also does a good line in answering back and cheekily asking for things its owner would like. All very cutely, in a high pitched kind of way.
And, of course, I spend much of my time checking on its whereabouts, like I do when his four-year-old sister and the others are with us. It's just like old times really.