Well, the summer holidays are drawing to a close and there has been a flurry of uniform buying, sorting and labelling. (Check out Woven Labels and then send me a big bunch of flowers to say thank you.) I feel like I'm in the routine of start of term prep now, but I found myself unexpectedly winded as I got to work on my daughter's outfits. They're just so tiny. Our baby is taking her greatest step into the wide wide world and whilst I'm as thrilled for her as she herself is, I know that there is heart break to come when I walk back into an empty house on that first day, so I've come up with a few ideas to distract me...
Clear out all the toys - charity shops don't mind teddies that are sodden with tears do they?
Clear out all the clothes - so I can mainline that baby smell from her tiny outfits that will never be worn again.
Gardening - I can initiate full chemical warfare on the slug population during my cryfest
Learn to make martinis - The salt from my tears should give a nice piquancy
Watch all of Gilmore Girls on Netflix in one sitting. Attempt to match them meal for meal*. The indigestion should make a nice distraction from my red raw eyes.
Blog. Blog like the wind. I will write up all those lovely trips we have had this summer for the Days Out section. My nostalgia fuelled brain will burn away all the hissed reprimands, the shrieking retorts, the grind of it all and leave only the three of us gambolling gleefully through a halcyon summer. Then I will cry at the loss of our perfect pre-school life.
Go on ebay. Search 'weird'. Honestly, just looking at this stuff [warning: definitely NSFW] is enough to stem the tears... until I find a photo of a weird baby and I remember that my baby and all her weirdness (like whispering 'bye bye towel' into my ear in a creepy voice) is now in the care of other grown ups for over six hours a day.
Reread all my old diaries from my teenage years. Realise that I was more intelligent, articulate and emotionally stable at twelve than I was at sixteen (and now). Apologise to my parents for having to put up with me. Have a panic attack about the importance of education, the oncoming teenage years and how my children are no longer entirely mine. Put diaries away before I smudge all the words by crying on them.
Learn to play backgammon. I don't know. It seems like something a grown up should know.
Play No Man's Sky. Basically this represents rekindling my interest in things my husband likes. We are going to need some common ground once our chicks have flown the nest. It's probably best to make a start now.
Watch some MTV. (It's important to keep your hand in with this stuff. If you take time off from watching the constant parade of gyrating human flesh then it's nigh on impossible not to shriek about how terrible it all is, in a voice akin to Hyacinth Bucket, when you do encounter it in the hairdressers or a clothes shop you over-optimistically thought might be 'for you'.) I will use this time on my own to fully express my sadness at the hypersexualisation of performers and thereby steel myself for the videos (vimeos?) of the future so my kids don't mock me for saying it in front of them.
Do some exercise. I'm pretty sure I'll get whatever piece of equipment I want if I wander the floor of the gym weeping. At the very least I'll find another mum or dad going through the same thing and we can at least spot each other or wipe the moisture off the equipment for each other at the end.
See my friends. I am lucky to have quite a few friends who are weathering this shit-storm at the exact same time. Grief shared is grief lightened. I am grateful to have so many people to support me and who I want to support. We can leap over this milestone together. See you on the other side x
* Though on second watching I have noticed that although they order a lot of food they only seem to ingest pop tarts and popcorn. That's why they're so bloody thin.