My son, Sam, has started a new school, leaving Kitty – happily – at the school they both used to attend. I won’t go into why – why does a child ever need to move schools? The idea had been mooted for a while but the casting vote was from Sam himself over the summer. He was ready for a change.
Okay, we said – that’s fine. We found him a place. We took him to look around, we enjoyed being in denial about our new school run, which would take us through two active hell mouths of London traffic. I took him to buy his new uniform.
And then we braced ourselves, but not really hard enough. Or, rather, there was no possibility of bracing ourselves against the psychodrama that has erupted ever since. The culture shock of culture shocks. It would be like trying to brace yourself against one of those MEGA TIDAL WAVES my kids used to look at on YouTube.
I once wrote here, a long time ago, about a dream I had where I had the realisation that the tornado I am sheltering in my house from is, in fact, Sam. Sam is the tornado. He is a force of nature that it is impossible to suppress or control unless you are absolutely fully on top of your game but also have a massive dose of luck.
I find myself saying “Sam” when I mean “Giles” and vice versa, because they are merging into one in their visceral emotional output. Impossibly loving and giving and charming and empathetic at one moment and just plain impossible the next. Giles and I have both wondered at times whether his personality is genetics or environment – and I think we now have an answer.
Anyway, we’re reaping the whirlwind. There’s the homework, which we have never had before, which I don’t even really understand. And the new school run, now an environmentally dubious double-thing, requiring me to replace my small petrol car that was stolen, (we had vowed not to do this), in order to supplement our new electric car. AND ALSO requiring me to hire a manny – yes, you heard me, from MyBigBuddy.com – to help 3 afternoons a week. Before Sam switched schools this manny was supposed to simply hand me my life back, taking the after-school shift completely off my hands. Now it’s a two-man job he is now required just to keep the show on the road.
I hope you don’t think I’m whinging, I’m not. Well, I am – but I have a point to make, which is that all this is finally finally a decent impetus to stop drinking. During the week, I mean. Because in the end I don’t really give a fuck about my face, or my belly, or my liver or my memory. I love white wine above all of those things. But I don’t love white wine more than I love my children and ditching it in order to be the parent my children need me to be feels noble, rather than defeatist. You can do it all! But you can’t do it all with a hangover.
How about you? Has your child moved schools recently? Tell me about the whirlwind.