Just before the summer break, I decided to go and see my son's school teacher to let her know that things would be a bit different for my little boy when he returned to school in September.
I have no idea if this is normal protocol - what you should and shouldn't tell the school about your domestic set-up. But because we'd gone through a week of particular turmoil and I noticed my son wasn't sleeping properly, and was a bit unpredictable in his moods, I thought it best to keep them informed.
It was pretty humiliating to be honest; despite being an adult and a parent, I still get that hauled-up-in-front-of-the-teacher feeling when meeting with school staff, that fear of looking foolish, giving the wrong answer, being told off.
It was a pretty embarrassing conversation for both parties. I stumbled and stuttered and finally managed to articulate a somewhat confusing explanation that my little boy would be living in two houses from next term, and that he might sometimes be going to his dad for the weekend straight from school on Fridays, sometimes home with me. Then there were further confusing explanations of various other people who may take him home if I was working.
The teacher was lovely of course, thanking me for letting her know, gently suggesting I also put it in writing so the headmaster was also aware, but generally looking as embarrassed and uncomfortable having the conversation as I was.
But it was horrible standing there in front of someone who made me feel - purely down to my own issues - like a naughty schoolgirl. I felt a failure as I mumbled my way through a scant explanation about WHY my son now had two 'homes', not quite being able to bring myself to say that I was separated from his father. Because then I would have probably had to elaborate and reveal the whole sorry saga; the farcical situation that has been playing out for over three years.
I got home and started trying to write down what I'd told her in a letter to the Head. This was even harder; although it was easier to collect my thoughts and be more coherent on paper, it was also easier to over-detail, to offer too many explanations, to say all the things I had not said in the face-to-face meeting. I mean, what do they actually NEED to know? And should I tell them things that even my son isn't aware of, like that his dad has a new partner?
I decided to mull it over during the summer break. After all, given the unpredictability of our lives right now, who knows what our domestic set up will be in eight weeks time?