The past week has felt like a strange one to say the least. There have been a few changes taking place in our house and normally when this happens, when we go through some sort of a change to the routine, I have a tendency to feel like this for a few days.
So what happened this week in particular? Well my daughter was going into her last week of school before breaking for the summer holidays and instead of looking forward to it and feeling excited like I thought I was supposed to, I was feeling nervous and out of sorts. I am happy for her to get her holidays of course but I just can’t believe that the year has come to an end already. Why is everything happening so quickly?
The thing is that even though it was pandemonium at times trying to get her ready in the mornings I have enjoyed bringing her to school every day. We had developed a routine that seemed to work well for all of us. I am going to miss watching her as she walks eagerly down the path, bag on her back, barely saying goodbye to me as she approaches the school gates because she has just spotted one of her friends so starts running in a mad panic to catch up with them.
The last ten months have been so good for her. She has made friends, grown in confidence and has come out of her shell massively. Believe me, it is a big, big change from the tumultuous start she had last September when she cried her eyes out and begged me not to make her go there.
And now it has come to an end and I can hardly believe it. She walked out on Friday, arms full carrying two bulging folders of all the artwork she had done throughout the year. For me it was a day of mixed feelings, filled with bits of happy and bits of sad. And then it all went downhill…
The entire school finished on a half day so flocks of children headed in the direction of the park which is directly across from the school. My daughter of course desperately wanted to go too so I agreed and her little sister and I followed in tow. The kids were euphoric. Not only had they finished on a half day but they were now off for the entire summer. They were laughing, running, climbing and swinging off monkey bars like nothing else mattered in the world.
Until a very dark cloud moved in overhead and all of the parents started looking at each other with dread, knowing that a severe downpour was quickly on its way. These showers had been coming thick and fast recently so we knew we had to move with speed. I grabbed my two-year-old and shouted to her sister to hurry as the drops of rain began to hit our heads. We had no coats so I started running towards our house which is just a five minute walk from the park, my toddler in my arms. My daughter followed but she was furious that she was leaving so soon. She started shouting at me:
“Why didn’t you bring the car?”
I, running on pure adrenaline and still carrying her sister in my arms, barely registered what she had said and mumbled something about how it had been sunny when we left so we decided to walk. And then she came out with it:
“Well you are the worst Mummy in the world!”
In my haste to get us to the front door as the rain was pouring down now, I decided to get everybody into the house and changed out of their wet clothes before talking to her about this. As soon as we were all dry I sat her down and gave her a massive telling off for speaking to me like that. I did the mummy thing and wagged my finger at her as I informed her that she was having no TV or treats for the rest of the day. She hung her head low and wandered off to her bedroom to play with her toys. And as soon as she was out of sight I walked into the kitchen, finally let go of it all and cried my eyes out.
I honestly had no idea I was capable of being this emotional. Before I had children I was a cool and collected customer. Yes, I had feelings but I rarely wore them on my sleeve. I gave nothing away. And then I had my daughters. Now I feel like I am on an emotional roller-coaster, constantly riding the wave.
Becoming a parent has been the most vulnerable experience of my life. I have laid myself out bare to these two little girls. They are the keepers of my heart. I would do anything in the world for them, absolutely anything.
And maybe that's it. Maybe it’s because I love them so ferociously that they know exactly how to get to me. Because like I said I am not accustomed to emotional displays. I didn’t cry when I saw Titanic – I didn’t even cry on my wedding day. But these girls know how to bring me to my knees and reduce me to tears at times.
So I'm learning to roll with the parental punches. As mums and dads we have no other choice, do we? Because I have no doubt there will be many more of them down the road.