On Thursday 1st February, my kids started the new school year. It was a pretty shitty day.
Whilst Jake was jumping out of bed with excitement and smiles, Evie pulled the covers over her head and refused to get out of bed, refused to talk to anyone, refused to get dressed, etc. etc. This had a flow on effect which led to the rest of us getting irritated, stressed, shouting, running late to get out the house and so on and so on. At the end of the day she came out of school smiling with her friends, but then the teenage attitude perfected so well by my 8 year old daughter started all over (God help me when those actual years do arrive) and what was meant to be a great day was left with a dark cloud hanging over it.
I had the camera all ready to capture the first day with the signs that the kids had prepared during the holidays. I did consider pulling out the camera, more to capture the fantastic sullen pout exhibited by Evie, but I thought better of it than to antagonise the situation.
So as we all climbed into bed a bit drained, we put it behind us and started all over again the next day, when I got my eagerly anticipated school photo.
I guess that’s the thing about life (as in the real life, not just the good parts of life that we share on social media). We can have these great expectations about how the day will unfold, the perfect first-day-of-school photo that we will eagerly share on social media and the smug parent feeling that you finally have some time back to yourself. And then it all goes to custard. You fight with your kids and your spouse and spend the whole day worrying that something is upsetting your child (and of course your mind plays tricks on you that there is something more sinister going – no thanks to the media paranoia we read and see every day) and you have failed them as parent (guilt, guilt and some more guilt).
But then tomorrow arrives. And things look a bit better. She holds the school sign and smiles for the camera. You are kinda glad you waited a day for the photo as this is the first day she is wearing proper school shoes for the very first time (day one was sports uniform) and you get that lump in your throat as these were the exact same Mary Jane school shoes that you wore when you started school.
And you realise that you love her so so much and that there will be loads more shitty days and a helluva lot of attitude that you are going to have to deal with. There will be plenty of parent guilt and questioning yourself if you are doing the right thing, and admitting that sometimes you have no fucken idea what you are doing. And there will always be another tomorrow.