I don't judge either. In reality though, the parenting spectrum is far more fluid and I definitely find myself with mixed feelings at this time of year.
I love the school holidays. As a school child, student, teacher and then parent my life and seasons have always been controlled by these breaks. I look forward to them, enjoy them and then have a quiet mourning period when they are over and start looking forward to and planning the next one.
But equally, I love each fresh new term, the clean leaf of paper, a fresh start. September of course is the "big one", a whole new school year. The end of the long, warm days and lighter nights and the beginning of those shorter cold dark days and even darker nights. Again, I will think of summer and miss her. I love looking back on our beach photos and and remembering how I felt at that moment in the sun. Thankfully, I also love autumn and her rich colours, low sun and feeling "cosy". Autumn is surely the season to welcome in Hygge.
I loved spending time with the kids. Of course there were bad times as well as good, the usual ying and yang of life but those carefree days of summer overall are special and to always be treasured. At the beginning of every summer holiday, I wonder if I should home school the kids and make these days our norm. I love spending time with them and I love to teach so it would make sense. But by the end of the holidays I look forward to a little me time again, more routine and structure and I'm reminded that the kids want to go back and be with their friends and teachers once more. Of course, if they weren't happy it would be a different story.
So we bought the new stationery and usual school paraphenalia and sent them on their way. No time for the unofficial back to school photo in our house instead a mad rush to get-ready-in a-short-enough-space-of-time-that-meant-we-didn't-have-to-get-up-too-early. We've tried to ease ourselves in gently (they started on a Monday this week but I much prefer a midweek humpday Wednesday as a first day).
The first moment returning to the empty house is always a bit unnverving. "What's that I hear?" Oh that would be nothing but the sweet sound of silence (oh and the washing machine, creaky pipes etc that are again noticeable). After almost no alone time (apart from moments snatched in the bathroom) peace feels so enlightening. I feel my head relax and replenish, I hear myself think for the first time in weeks. I don't feel lonely as I keep myself busy trying to clean up the summer debris and settle back to work. I wonder from time to time how the kids are getting on and how their day is going. I don't miss them as such but come 3 O' clock feel excited to see them again (a feeling I miss in the summer when I admit I do take their constant company for granted).
I enjoy the walk to school. My first solo walk at my own pace in oh so long. Then some chats with other "grown ups" at the school gates. Familiar friendly faces all around, excited kids coming out of school talking nine to a dozen about random parts of the day. I feel I never get the full picture just odd fragments of it.
I enjoy the walk back home even more, now we settle to the youngest's pace. I see things again through the eyes of a child. We stop at every blackberry, caterpillar, butterfly, beetle and so much more. The littlest things can be the most important. The handholding, the cuddles, the love.
Eventually all kids are home and the house is an explosion of shoes, coats, bags, books and mini humans once more. As the house is filled, the fridge is emptied.
The noise is back (oh it's back), but my brain has made more space for it and now the sounds seep in gladly.
I'll happily accept a tissue when the kids go back to school but I won't say no to a bottle of wine either.