Slipping through my fingers all the time: my youngest is starting school soon

Sometimes I wish I could freeze the picture...

Sometimes I wish I could freeze the picture...

It’s just three months until my youngest starts school.  And only two weeks until her brothers are off on their school holidays.  At this point, the current set up, of Thursdays and Fridays being ‘just us’ will stop.  Forever.

I think it is this milestone for my youngest, more so than any other, which is really making me stop and think.  It will be a real change to the dynamic at home (for me anyway).  When she stopped breastfeeding, no longer needed the buggy, even when she came out of nappies, I felt a brief pang of an era ending, but this feels more fundamental.    It isn’t exactly empty nest syndrome, but it is definitely an emptier nest. 

Abba's song, Slipping Through My Fingers captures this all perfectly.  Please forgive the extended quote.   And be prepared for tears if you watch the link.

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone, there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny.
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go?
Well, some of that we did, but most we didn't
And why, I just don't know
Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile

One element which definitely exacerbates this whole sense of an emptier nest is the fact that I’m also not sure what I’ll do with my extra time once she is in school.  Having recently closed my business, I’m not sure really what I’m should do with myself.   What do I do?  Yes. I’m writing this blog, but it isn’t making any money (yet - all offers welcome!).  I’m doing some creative writing, but again, this at the moment doesn’t exactly have financial security guaranteed in its future.  Should I go back to the City?  Permanently?  Part-time?  Should I do some consulting?  Do I need to do anything?  This experience, of changes to your career, (whether that’s starting a new one, stopping one or anything in between), particularly, although not exclusively of course, for women when they have a family, is in many ways what Woman in Progress is all about.  I have no idea what I’m doing, and honestly, I don't think that matters.  I’m making it up as I go along - and I think now, perhaps more than ever, this is something that many other women are going through.  My youngest starting school just throws that all into sharper relief that’s all.  

What happened to the wonderful adventures?

As for my baby girl and me, I’m not sure what to do on our last ‘together’ days.  Should we continue the usual routine of coffee and cake, gymnastic classes, trips to the supermarket and me desperate trying to avoid buying her one of those crappy magazines? Or should we do something special?  Whatever we do it will be special for me.  I’ll remember it.  Cherish it.  And take a lot of photos.  

I think her perfect day would comprise snacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner followed by being allowed unrestricted access to crappy magazines, games on the iPhone, Nella the Princess Knight and a visit to the Disney Store.   For me, as long as I spend it with her, it will be perfect.  

Laura x

How was it for you when your youngest started school?  Do you have any suggestions for a perfect day out with a 4 year old?  Do let us know.