Andrea Mara

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On the 95th of September

We’re half-way through. It’s a bit soon for jumping to conclusions, and I’m tempting fate by writing this, and it’s all going to fall apart this week just because I wrote this down. But then again, if I don’t stop and acknowledge that it’s happening, I might never believe that it did.

September is usually HELL in our house. I don’t mean back in the olden days when the kids were in crèche and I was at work – back then, September just meant heavier traffic and cooler rain.

Then one by one, the kids started school, and September fell apart at the seams. Homework wars, tiredness, tears, scratchy uniforms, unfamiliar teachers, new classrooms, shape-shifting friendships – all of this contributed to the disharmony. And we still had the heavier traffic and cooler rain.

I imagine there are homes all over the country who routinely take September in their stride, but we are not one of those homes. I imagine there are kids who sit harmoniously together to do homework, but that is not us. I imagine there are children who revert to the world of alarm clocks and school runs with aplomb, that is, sadly, not how it goes here.

I’ve written about September many times – the falling apart at the seams that defeats me every year, no matter what I do. (I just had a look – there’s I Just Can’t, Septembering, Septembering Again, and Snapshot of a Woman on the Verge)

And this year, I may well be writing something similar by the end of the month. But for now, half-way through, I’m making this note. We have  *whispers* harmony.

Wait, I don’t think I quite mean that – maybe not harmony, but we have less disharmony than usual. And the September bar is low, so I’ll take it.

I don’t know why we have less disharmony this year. I wish I did, so that if and when it falls apart, I can fix it – sew back up those split seams.

Is it because they’re older, or because we got three lovely teachers this year? Is it because the unsettled classmate dynamics of other years are (at least temporarily) fixed? Is it because they have their own desks now for homework – nobody is trying to do long division while a sibling hums loudly beside them?

I have no idea. But they’re getting up in the morning (on the third call), they’re doing their homework (eventually), they’re not crying (much), and they’re not fighting (every minute). I feel like this is what other people’s houses might be like.

It still feels like a hamster wheel of lunches and spellings and uniforms, and I definitely haven’t got to grip with the drop-offs to extra-curricular activities. My progress with my newly purchased slow cooker has been, erm, slow. As I type, I’m conscious of two unsigned journals, one missing library book, an unwritten cheque, and roughly (give or take) three lots of unheard reading homework. And I fall asleep every night during the opening credits of Mindhunter (in my defence, they are unreasonably long credits).

And I can’t believe we’re only half-way through what feels like the 95th of September. But that’s all me. The kids are actually, surprisingly, remarkably, fine. We’ll see. Watch this space. If it’s the calm before the storm, then I’m all for enjoying the calm.





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