Be careful what you wish for

If you’d asked me four years ago what day I was looking forward to more than any other, I’d have had only one answer: the day my youngest child goes to school. I had two small children and too many deadlines to think about. I dreamed of the day when I would have enough time to write a novel and not be interrupted halfway through every sentence. Every. Sentence.

I worked late into the night, woke up all night and woke up early. From there, the chance to ship them off to school looked like a ticket to the Promised Land – for me, if not for them.

Today I received a note home from school. Enrollment packs for 2012 are available for collection at the office. It dawned on me, as it has been slowly dawning on me since the beginning of the year, that this is my last year with a small child at home.

My last year of ‘I need a snack’. My last year of ‘Can I watch this DVD?’. My last year of ‘What shall we do today Mummy?’. My last year of ‘No, I won’t’. My last year of ‘I know you’re on the phone but I need you to wipe my bottom RIGHT NOW’.

My last year.

I never imagined I would feel this sad.

Last Thursday, Mr4 and I walked into town. We had plans. He was going to walk all the way in his new, bouncy, enormous, white sneakers. We were going to have a milkshake. We were going to pick up a new Fireman Sam DVD to rent. Life on the edge with a four year old in tow.

He turned to me as we walked out our front gate. “This is going to be the Best Day, Mum,” he said, before bounding off to show me how well he could skip in his brand new, bouncy, enormous, white sneakers.

And it was. We had no chores and nowhere to be. We wandered around, got the DVD, had the milkshake, visited Gran and Pops, and went home. He was thrilled that I’d got all my work done and wouldn’t need to spend any time on the phone or the computer. As was I.

That night, as I lay in bed with Mr7, enjoying the 20 minutes of one-on-one time that we get each day in the guise of Reading, I realised that I would soon be doing this with both boys. Squeezing an entire day’s closeness into one tiny window.

Unlike now. When I have two whole days of pure, unadulterated Mr4. All to myself.

So, school next year.

I miss him already.