Please don't get me wrong, I'm not of the mind to keep him at home: Oldest Son, like most children his age, is keen to learn and explore the world and for me, and for my family, we believe that school is an appropriate place to do this, amongst children his own age and under the care and guidance of a team of motivated and professional teachers. But that doesn't mean that this sometimes over-emotional woman and mother can't mourn the dawning end of this current phase of our lives.
This isn't to say that every one of our days together has been Enid Blyton perfect. Daily mysteries of "where did the time / shoe / car keys go" continue to plague us and despite forays into baking and cordial making, my boys still prefer chocolate over fruit cake and have yet to be introduced to the delights of ginger beer. But there's time. Even with proposed changes to the teaching week, school attendance isn't all day every day – and we, like the millions of others before us, will come to value our evenings, weekends and holidays together.
I'll miss him. That's the honest truth of it. I'll miss our freedom, whole days doing something or nothing, as the mood, wind, rain, sunshine, our interests and energies take us. I've just about got used to the few hours that he spends in nursery but both Youngest Son and I are always delighted to see him at the end of his session – and this is regardless of any baking that he might have been involved in.
I also can't knit for him. Okay, yes, of course I can, but from August, Oldest Son will be wearing a school uniform and one that doesn't include hand knitted jumpers. I'm aware that this sounds extremely hypercritical given, as we've previously discussed, the jacket I currently have on the needles for Oldest Son probably won't even fit him, but there would have been a whole lot of comfort in sending him to school in a jumper that I'd made for him. Comfort for me, obviously. This is all about me. In case you're in any way uncertain about the degree of this fixation, I have even considered knitting jumpers for all of his classmates just so Oldest Son didn't stand out - his class is likely to comprise four children so this isn't quite as ridiculous as it sounds. However, that idea was soon quashed – not because it's nonsense (and of course it is), but because all of his class mates are likely to be in receipt of jumpers from older siblings - so anything from me would be totally and completely surplus to requirement. For a brief moment I considered knitting him socks, but seriously, plain black socks? I'll stop right there.
So he'll just have to go to school in the knowledge that I love him even if he can't wear anything I've knitted for him to prove it. Because clearly that's how love is measured, by the quality and quantity of hand knits. But before we know it, autumn and winter will soon be upon us and then my needles will be free to knit, knit, knit away. At least for the five minutes before he starts rejecting anything and everything that I create for him. Mummy's knitting isn’t always going to be cool.
In the meantime, I’ll get used to it, obviously I will. For one thing I have to and for another, it is a wonderful opportunity to have some quality one-on-one time with Youngest Son. Whole days to do something or nothing……..