Am prepping for the children breaking up for school holidays. Six weeks looms ahead in a mix of heady pleasure and squabbling pain. I have been doing this long enough now to be realistic about what the holidays will hold. I know that there will never be enough beach items to satisfy everyone even if each has their own crabbing line, beach umbrella and dinghy. I know that we will start the summer with matching pairs of flip flops and within two days at least one child will be hopping back to the car. We will book tickets for the cinema for the day that becomes the hottest since records began. And that when the rain comes we will already have seen the one film suitable for all. There will only ever be two of the three out of the house on play dates while the third hangs around morosely complaining that they ‘have no friends’, ‘have absolutely nothing to do’ and that ‘every single thing you suggest bores me’. The combination of busy children and abandoned child will change weekly. The moaning will be exactly the same. Ditto for play dates at home when one of the three specially selected guest children will have to cancel. The military organised sport camp days to cover childcare will not cover the crucial work meeting where I have to bring them all with me and pretend they are not sitting in a corner of the room sticking temporary tattoos on each other and the furniture. The grandparents who constantly offer to come down and help out in the holidays find they are not available in August. The entire month. The garden will be out of bounds at first glimpse of a B&B guest lounging in the courtyard. The entertainment and hospitality budget will be blown by week two. There will be no opportunity for me to go for a coffee, run or wee alone. I will finally go through their school bags in the last week to find an old packed lunch, several birthday invites (already missed, probably on one of the days where the invitee was bemoaning their loneliness) and a six week summer project to include photos, 3d models and an interview with a famous person.
The point is I can’t win. But that isn’t really the point. The actual point is I can’t wait.