Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Leaving school and growing up

Standing in the queue in Matalan this week I suddenly realised that ‘rites of passage’ are for grown-ups, as well as kids.

This year Molly left school and is heading off into her gap year and all the fun that will hold; and Alice left school to enter 6th Form and the challenge of A levels. Which left me with the challenge as I stood in that queue of the realisation that I would never stand there again with handfuls of school shirts, skirts, socks, and jumpers. In addition there would be no more shopping for pencil cases and school bags; and no more stitching in name labels.

My status as a mother and provider has moved on, I am no longer the parent of school age children – how can that be when I am only 28?
It’s been fun, I’ve learnt a lot, which I guess I just file away now in order to pass it on at some time in the future to my girls when they have their families. The school age parent trade secrets such as:

·      Always buy uniform a couple of sizes too big so that it lasts the whole year – especially the expensive school blazers.

·      If you have to label stuff go for the fancy embroidered labels, and if you have more than one child who will get the hand-me-downs, then get the labels so the say ‘Molly DRYDEN Alice’, then when you sew them in they cover both children.

·      It’s annoying that Asda’s shirts are so cheap, but ultimately M&S’s stay whiter longer so worth the investment.

Ah the list is extensive and I pray that I will be able to remember them all.

Part of me is glad those days are over, especially the having to keep the white socks white bit – it was never my gifting. But the other part of me is mourning school gate chatter, PTA meetings, school fetes, school holidays and routine.

Guess I have to finally give in to the fact that I am a grown-up, and I’m really not sure that I want to be yet!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What will I be when I grow up?

By way of procrastinating from doing that I am meant to be doing, writing a talk for the Family Craft Morning on Saturday; and also because I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything today, here is a blog entry. Today I have to disagree with those who claim that moving house is just about the most stressful thing you can do in your life!

I am finding that moving through life stages is not dissimilar in stress and heartache. This week for me is one of those where you think you are just about holding it together, but something inside of you just wants to run around naked screaming (sorry possibly not the best image to use).

This past weekend I had a long hard three days at college trying to stuff medieval theologians into my un-retentive brain, closely followed by Monday at college with yet another load of information, on some geezer called Thomas Cranmer, to process. Then on Tuesday I had 24 hours to save the universe, go to work, remember Pancake Day, deliver said articles for consumption, and get ready for Alice’s 16th birthday on Wednesday. Which just so happens to then coincide with Molly having her one and only interview for a place in Med School at Bristol University; a one in three success rate so we are told (which isn’t too bad, being as she has been selected to be one of 500, out of 5000 for interview; the odds are getting better..). Crush in Valentines Day on Thursday, which this year will go largely/totally ignored as it is also a study day and I am treating myself to a haircut in my lunchbreak; and then the week comes screeching to a crescendo with Molly’s 18th birthday on Friday, taking 20 teenagers to Covent Garden for a meal that evening followed by the ‘piece de la resistance’ or maybe the straw that breaks the camel’s back; a teenage party and sleepover on Saturday afternoon/evening. Lord, I have to ask why were our girls born two years, less one day apart?

All this I guess I can cope with if it was just on a ‘doing it’ basis, I’m a pretty good multi tasker. But mixed into it all are thoughts that crash through my heart and mind like huge waves:

 “Oh my gosh my babies are now 16 and 18, one of them is an adult!”;

“That means Molly is really doing it, she’s planning to leave me!”;

“That means only two years until Alice heads off too!”;

All afternoon I have been wandering around the house, not being able to settle to anything; praying for Molly as she does this interview but also praying for Steve and myself. I opened her bedroom door, overlooked the absolute mess, even wondered how it would be when the mess wasn’t there anymore; and then quickly shut the door again.

The crux of what is going on in my head and my heart is “what next, who will I be when my kids have gone? My identity for the last 18 years has been so wrapped up in them, I wonder now who I am going to grow up to be? Some of you may know that I am at present training to become a Vicar in the Church of England – guess that is what my future is kind of going to look like. Yes, only the Lord knows why! (I don’t have the foggiest I am being faithful to His call). But I am REALLY glad of that fact at the moment, I am really glad that He knows why. Having already ordained my days before I was born; and also our girls days; He knows exactly what we will all be and look like when we grow up! He even ordained this week, and will get us all through it. As I wandered aimlessly around this afternoon I felt his presence holding me. Every time I got to that place of PANIC took a deep breath and felt His spirit fill me with all I needed to get through the next minute, hour, day.

I have no idea, nor can I control, what I or our girls will be when we grow up. So I will just fall back on his Word, which says in Jeremiah 29 verse 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Right, it’s time to take a deep breath, get my glad rags on for Alice’s birthday meal tonight and plough on through – trusting God’s plans for me and mine.