I’ve been underground; that is, I’ve been otherwise engaged. School holidays spell distraction for me and as I near the blessed end to each one, I secretly relish the prospect that they’ll go back to school and I get to be alone for a moment. I am sure I write the same sentiment every year after Easter. That slightly guilty, slightly wayward feeling intense parenting provokes, when I am in the company of my children so much I wonder where they stop and I begin. Friends have doled out advice in recent weeks as I’ve hit a spiral of self-doubt; part professional (will I ever finish this damn book?!) and part personal (life feels like awfully hard work right now). I need to take a step back and put in place all the usual measures: yoga, good food, better sleep, walking, planning, trying to calm my worries. Turning the amplifier down.
It never comes naturally to me, but I persist.
The season shifted and the wisteria on my house went from tight, unfurled buds to near bloom in a few days. My son turned twelve. My daughter got to grips with her exam revision and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Can I just say that trying to learn ten subjects intimately when you are just fifteen years old is brutal?! She persists.
My peers and I refer to ourselves as the ‘sandwich’ generation; teenage children and parents who are getting older. We are the burger in the bun of life. Everyone’s peddling and wondering how life got so complicated. I find myself looking at women with young children and for the first time ever, feeling a curious wave of envy. Why? I didn’t even like that stage. I suppose what prompts me is the knowledge that when your children are small, everything is ahead of you. Now, as my daughter approaches her sixteenth year I find myself reaching for the memories of her birth like they have been filed away in a dusty box on top of a high shelf. Lid on.
And the book, well it’s on hold whilst I finish all of the academics now required to graduate. One essay down, one to go (the epic, big boy one). Bear with me, I’ll be back.