It’s been a pretty idyllic day, this last day before my son returns to school. Sometimes, an inset day is one day’s holiday too far; parental patience is tried and tempers fray. At other times, like today, a day’s grace is a gift and a joy. It’s been a rainy and gloomy half-term week here in Kent; it would have been a shame to go back to school the day after the sun came out.
The weather helped; as did the giddy freedom of one-on-one parenting. Flora’s pre-school did go back today, which meant Leo and I dropped her off at 9am and were free to chill out for the morning. Little sisters may be cute, but they are also full-on demanding, and it’s a rare revelation to be able to spend some time with my son alone.
We had hot chocolate and bacon and egg brioche in Pret, then bought a model aircraft hanger and Battle of Britain model aircraft; we looked in Waterstone’s at all the books we would like to buy (I showed him the new Maggie O’Farrell, This Must Be The Place, and he showed me Usborne’s Lift the Flap Look Inside Castles). We walked through the park, and Leo climbed in trees and raced down hills; finally relaxing into the morning.
We pick Flora up from her play school and picnic at the small playground; the weather is so flighty we must be outdoors as much as we can. Later, we walk back from sandstone outcrops in the late afternoon sun, my children running their hands through tall trampled tangles of wayside Cow Parsley.
‘I wish I didn’t have to go back to school,’ Leo says.
It would be nice if the day didn’t have to end; or if every day was like this. But this was the day we needed, and I think it has left us feeling recharged. Ready.