Well. It wasn’t supposed to happen just yet. I’ve made my final school run.
No longer shall I routinely tread those well-worn steps towards ‘the gates’ of a morning, and back again, come the afternoon.
It’s crept up on me suddenly, this game changer, and earlier than I thought.
I assumed I would check permanently out of the regular run next summer, when Miss P the younger leaves lower school. Until then, I reckoned on another nine months of school-running ahead of me still.
However, in a recent, and speedy turnaround of fortune, I got a proper job. So now I’m going to have to ask someone else to escort my littlest girl to school at half past eight every morning, and bring her home again at half past three.
I’m not sure I’m ready for this.
The school run is something I’ve done twice every term-time weekday since the elder Miss P started her formal education in September 2006. I’m not very good at maths, but I make that a rough total of 2,520 school runs – or, 5040 single journeys either to school or back again. That’s a pretty big part of my life.
And yes, we do sometimes arrive late, sweating and stressed out at drop-off because we’ve got behind schedule or had to rush back for forgotten mufti money or reading books or trumpet cases. And occasionally, yes, I have entirely lost track of the time whilst working at home and forgotten to head out for pick-up, necessitating a frantic begging call to the first available person I can find who will step in and scoop up my neglected offspring for me.
But although it does at times go pear-shaped, and I have been heard to grumble about the tedium factor involved in this twice-daily commitment, the truth is, I’m going to miss the comfort, structure, and camaraderie it provides.
Some mums say they have a miserable time of it at the school gates, what with the Bitchy Cliques and the PTA Dragons and the Competitive Parents that apparently populate playgrounds.
Me, I’ve never fallen foul of any of those sorts at our lovely lower school.
I actively look forward to turning up in the mornings and afternoons, knowing that several dozen faces are without fail going to loom into view with a smile and a cheery greeting. Quite a few of these faces belong to people I’m glad I can call friends beyond the school gates. I’ll miss this catch-up time with them very much.
It may also take a while to get used to the fact that it will no longer be me saying goodbye, and hello, to the younger Miss P at the start and end of her school day. I knew I’d have to face up to that finishing sooner or later. But sooner’s going to be a tough call.
Anyhoo. Excuse me. I think I’ve got something in my eye. Farewell, school run.
*blows noisily into hanky.*