Now Mindy isn’t needed for the school run, she needs something to do
At last, everything is back to normal.
Decorations returned to their boxes for another year and the sad skeleton that was once a bushy Christmas tree is on the bonfire.
Richard is off on his travels, the girls have resumed their schooling and since Izzy has become a driver I’m excused all those school runs.
I should be embracing the peace and quiet, but instead I’m bouncing off the walls.
Like the army of parents all over the world, for years my whole day has been organised around school timetables – but not any more.
I still spend half an hour dragging the girls from their beds in the morning and make them coffees, which are rarely so much as sniffed as they sit concentrating on the important business of subtle make-up application.
But instead of arranging the pick-up time every day, I’m left waiting for a text to appear from one of them at some point which will hopefully tell me when to expect them, and whether to cook.
I’m out in the fields by 8am these days and the animals are confused by the change in routine; the stables are pristine and everyone is fed and watered well before elevenses – in fact, elevenses has become tenses.
The pile of outstanding paperwork which used to dominate the kitchen island has shrunk so much it fits in one wicker tray, all my filing is done, the dishwasher never seems to be full and the floors in the house have never been so clean. I’m even up to date with the ironing.
Is this why so many women of a certain age meet for coffee and go to lunch just to fill the time?
Thankfully, I’m not a fan of shopping sprees, so Richard can breathe a sigh of relief and not worry I’ll be hitting the high street.
He’d like me to rejoice at my new-found liberty and jokes I should take up golf (although I’m not a huge fan of the Pringle sweater).
But he knows I miss the girls dreadfully, and when I heard Slipping Through My Fingers by ABBA playing on the radio the other day – with lyrics that tell the story of a mother’s relationship with her daughter, expressing her sadness that the day of separation was coming ever closer – I cried so hard the dogs came rushing to comfort me.
It’s so silly. After all, I’ve never been one to try and tie the girls to my apron strings and we all have to leave the nest at some point, but honestly, what is a mummy to do when there aren’t hours of child-induced housework and a half-empty fridge to worry about?
There are so many little projects I should attack, but the weird thing is, I genuinely believe I wouldn’t be facing the problem head-on if I buried myself in a random occupation.
I know it isn’t a serious issue, but it is one faced by so many parents and it seems to happen so suddenly, we’re simply not prepared for it.
So Richard and I had one of our planning meetings, except this one was a meeting with a difference.
Instead of talking about work, we discussed how we were going to cope with the next five years and made really good progress.
After a couple of hours we’d talked about everything and formulated a very loosely structured plan.
After a couple of hours, Mindy andRichard had the next five years planned
Life might change, but we found a way of navigating our way through which would allow us to be together more and make the very best of all the time we have with the girls while the business of being teenagers is getting done.
Now we have a way forward, it feels as though the pressure is off. The girls can have a little flap of their feathers with our blessing.
Most importantly, we’re going to have a lot offun over the next few years, and just to give you a hint, there may be travel, telly and my favourite – more puppies.
Will I become a lady who lunches? Not on your nelly.