The end of the summer holidays came at just the right time for the King family. On Monday Our Little Chip continued to demonstrate her not-so-little-ness by starting secondary school. On the same day my eldest began sixth form. Secondary school? Sixth form?! And dear Fluff had great fun, as a lofty Year 9, telling her sister what not to do so that she won’t look like a lowly Year 7. I have to say, though, how smart they both looked in their blazers – a bittersweet welcome to the new school year.
At the same time my very dearest friend in all the world came to stay. Although several years older than me, Kelly is at the beginning of her journey through motherhood, having her first child in her early 40s, who is officially the world’s cutest toddler (Chip said so, and she is the sole authority on these things). Plus we’ve had Chip’s friend, Jodie, round ours a lot because they both now go to the same school. Jodie’s mum is a single parent who works late, so I’ve invited Jodie to make herself at home. It’s so lovely to have a full house, especially sharing meals together! I managed to get a highchair from freecycle so we even had a seat for little Noah. It’s as if our rambling Victorian house is finally being put to use, albeit temporarily. There’s plenty of room, plenty of food and love to spare.
Now that the weekend has arrived I’m knackered, but know that I’ve made a solid start in the mum sweepstakes. I’m currently assisting my two boisterous beauties with their homework – secondary school and the pressure is on. They’re giggling over the fact that Richard III’s body was found under a car park. This is, apparently, the most amusing fact in the world. Hmm. My bed is looking so very appealing. 😴
The end of the summer term brings numerous school traditions. This morning was, once again, Prize Day at Chip’s primary school, and I was invited once more to the ceremony. As they read out the title of the award, followed by the names of the children, I reflected on whether my little Chip would be likely to win any particular one. I didn’t think she’d win ‘Exemplary Behaviour’ like her sister the year before. She’s a little too – er – bouncy for that, by which I mean she occasionally forgets to be considerate in her eagerness. I joked with her beforehand that she ought to win ‘Most Like Tigger’. She just grinned.
The teacher continued to announce the various awards and when it came to ‘Most Improved in Confidence’ I nearly snorted. Chip was definitely not going to be eligible for that one. Any more confidence and she’d be dangerous. Like I say, our very own little Tigger. So which award do you think she won? You might have an inkling. It was ‘Most Enthusiastic Learner’. Bless her, the teacher said that she approaches everything, even the subjects she doesn’t like so much, with enthusiasm and endless curiosity. I was proud.
Next week I’ve been invited to Fluff’s school where she also has won a prize. It’s good to know, as a parent, that you must be doing something right if your offspring continually achieve well. It’s good to know that, despite all the horribleness and ugliness and darkness that we’ve been through as a family, we’ve not only come through, but come through strong. Even this past year, while it has been the best year of my life so far (hallelujah!), has not been easy. EMDR was nothing if not gruelling and it had an impact on the whole family, not just me. My biggest lesson from EMDR, perhaps surprisingly, has been to learn that being a good mother is good enough. I don’t have to be the perfect parent to somehow make up for the past.
So I shall spend this lovely summer’s day enjoying being a Very Proud Mother, and giving thanks to the God of all things good.
The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.
Matt 18:4,5 (GNT)