The bittersweet taste of family life

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A little under a year ago I wrote a candid blog post describing how I felt “emotionally confused” and “melancholy” because Izzy, our youngest daughter, was starting school. The confusion and melancholy have passed but, wow, what a year it has been as family life has changed so much for us.

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Family life can be bittersweet, as the past year has shown.

Our little girl went into school just about able to write her name. She came home the other day with her school report in which she had stated in child-like but neat handwriting that she wants to “get better at writing descriptions.” That’s quite a leap in a short space of time.

Whether it’s the influence of school or something else I don’t know, but character-wise she has really come out of her shell. There’s no question, she’s growing up.

Being our youngest daughter, it was all the more significant when Izzy started school. Her big sister, Helen, will be going into Year Five in September and for some time now she’s been tackling mathematics far more complex than I ever attempted at secondary school, let alone at primary school.

It’s obvious that Helen’s entering the tween stage. Public displays of affection, once unquestioned, aren’t always appreciated. You can see that friends are, slowly but surely, becoming a bigger part of her life.

It’s simply what happens. I was the same at her age, but it does hurt a little, just a little to see this change.

And what of me? As I said in that previous blog post, Izzy starting school last September represented a huge change for me.

I would remain Helen and Izzy’s main carer. While Mrs Adams concentrated on her career, I would continue doing the school run, organising the play dates and after school activities and so on. I just wouldn’t have a pre-schooler by my side.

There was going to be more time for me to concentrate on the blog and I would work for myself during school hours. This has come to pass, but the past year, especially the past six months, have been a turbulent time and I haven’t had as much spare time as I hoped.

At the very start of the year, my father in law passed away. As you can imagine, it was a tough period and we still feel the impact of his passing now (does a family every truly get over such things?).

We also decided to sell up and move house. We moved just a couple of weeks ago but buying a new place and organising the move has dominated family life. With Mrs Adams working full time, I’ve had to handle most of this. As a result, I haven’t had as much time as I thought, although I hope to get the last few boxes unpacked maybe this week or next.

With Izzy starting school back in September, the talk at home is about secondary schools for Helen. Family life doesn’t stop, it just gets faster and the stakes higher!

With Izzy finishing her first year at school and my first academic year without a young child on my hip coming to an end, I feel the confusion and melancholy have gone. They’re replaced by acceptance that my kids are growing and developing at a speed I never quite imagined.

It’s also bittersweet. My kids are becoming more and more independent. It’s the way of the world but I think even I’m surprised how quickly it’s happening now both are in the school system.

Are all your children at school now? Do you find the rate they develop terrifying? Maybe your youngest starts school in September? What hopes and fears do you have? Please do leave a comment below with your thoughts.


6 thoughts on “The bittersweet taste of family life”

  1. My youngest has been at school for four years now so I’ve been at home alone a lot of the time. I’d always thought that would give me more time to get stuff I wanted to do out of the way.

    It has allowed me more time to go running but time is eaten up in other ways now. Blogging is still an important escape for me but sometimes it has to take a back seat.

    The plan was for me to return to work next year but as my wife’s looking to further her career a move back to England is on the cards. So I’ve got another year at home whilst she travels around for interviews and finds the right job and the next move for our family.

    1. Oh wow, so it’s going to be all change for you guys then? Having only just moved house (and only a short distance) I don’t even want to think about it! Thing is, the school day is very short. I really don’t know how you can fit working for an employer into that time. it obviously can be done, but I struggle as it is fitting everything in during school hours.

  2. Enda Sheppard

    Well, our two are now in Secondary school here in north Dublin (county that is) and it has flown. New worries, dealing with occasional trucelence but really, summer is tough going when both parents work outside the home. My efforts to only work from home unfortunately haven’t worked out. I know summer is great and all but actually I can’t wait for the kids to be back in school so I can get time to work on some fiction writing …. at least that’s the aspiration!

    1. Oh Enda, good luck with your writing! I do a lot of planning for the summer holidays. I can but imagine what it is like with teens and all the worries they bring. Truculence must be a part of the package!

  3. So sorry to hear about your father in law and hope you are settling into your new place – one thing I have learnt in life that even with the best laid plans in place and all that nothing prepares you for the curve balls that life throw at you!!! Our youngest starts school in Sep and although I can see the positives of having all 3 girls at school I can’t help but feel sadness that our little girls are growing up!

    1. Yes, life has thrown a few curve balls this year. I do relate what you feel about your youngest starting school. It is quite a milestone for any family. Good to have you back blogging again Tom.

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