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The Last Day

Today is one of those little family mileposts for us.

It’s my daughter’s very last day at school.

Okay, she’s got to go back every now and then to do a few more A level exams but this is officially her last day at school.

It all started back in 1998 when my son started at our local primary school and that’s really when our life changed.

Up until that point we had lived life more or less as we pleased as regards the calendar.

We were very privileged as parents of pre school children due to the fact that my wife is Australian. We spent a great deal of time in Queensland during British winters living very cheaply and feeling more than a little smug.

When you have babies and toddlers drastically reduces the amount of time and effort you spend dressing your children.

They didn’t need to wear much with daytime temperatures hovering around 30c. My son never wore shoes from the moment he got off the plane at Brisbane airport and ran to see Grandma who’d always be waiting for us.

My wife and I have never had regular jobs, I’ve never done a 9 to 5 five days a week job. It’s either flat out, shooting TV series, working at weekends and travelling all over the place, or I’m working at home and walking 10 meters to my office.

We never went on holidays during ‘holiday times’ and we always arranged our travel plans around cheap tickets and low crowds.

But when my son started school that all changed. Suddenly we had to be around every day at specific times to get them to school and be ready when they came home. We had to have holidays when everyone else had holidays; we suddenly couldn’t spend 3 or 4 months in Australia over the winter, we suddenly had to travel at peak times.

I suddenly became more stressed.

This picture was taken in Paris when we had a 'weekend break' hyper rushed visit in 2000.


So although today is a sad day in some ways, there’s definitely an up side. My son has already left home, he now at University in Bristol and my daughter is off to Australia this summer for an unspecified time.

We’ve had empty nest anxiety for a while and we’ll soon discover what it really means. My children have been such an integral part of my life for the last 20 years the change seems very sudden and permanent.

Okay, we are now much more flexible in our arrangements, it’s only dogs and chickens that rely on us but I know I will miss my wonderful babies for the rest of my life.

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Reader Comments (4)

What a lovely post.

I don't have children of my own but I will be on holiday during the school holidays this year due to a family holiday that will involve 3 generations including my young niece and nephew. They are growing up so fast and it will be wonderful to spend a whole week with them, even if all the places we take them to will be heaving.

May 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Wow! Did you guys clone your kids?? They look exactly like you both! hahaha Great family pic!
And don`t worry about them moving on. It is really what it`s all about. You plant a seed, care for it, watch it grow, then see it bear fruit. Then one day, they come home with...Grandchildren! All the fun of kids without ever having to be the bad guy. But don`t waste time! Start collecting those corny jokes, learning those hokey magic tricks and boning up on all the best spoiling tactics that will drive their parents crazy. And in your spare time, go outside and stare at the sky as often as you can. And just think and remember and dream. Because there will come the times when you will have to take on the greatest, most important and most rewarding responsibility of all....the imparting of wisdom. I`m sure you`d scoff at that thought, but only a fool proclaims themselves to be the wise.

May 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjusn

A lovely refection... I am at the start of my family journey with a toddler boy and baby girl, currently living in Brisbane but planning to make a move to the Cotswolds any week now with my husband and family in tow. I'm spending my evening searching for any scrap of information of what life is like in the region in a hope of justify this seemingly made move away from our immediate 'family and friend' bubble in an effort to find the perfect place to raise our family.

Thank you for blogging about your Cotswold life.

May 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I was touched reading this. Although my kids are only in primary school, I can't help but feel sad thinking about the time when my babies leave home and don't need us so much (especially as google gives them many of the answers to questions that parents were traditionally quizzed on). Then I read it allowed to my wife and, without warning, I was blubbing like a kid who'd just seen Lassie get run over! (Shhh, don't tell anyone though…)

Anyway, I feel your heartache, but as my other half said, they will always need you - for one reason or another (the position of 'dogs body' will be required many times!) - and as jusn said, it all changes again when they have kids. I know I did when we had ours - I went from hyper independent, hardly called let alone visited my parents, to suddenly feeling that 'family' is the most important thing in the world and seeing mine at every opportunity. The realisation of our mortality also coincided with this, that feeling of immortality you have when you're younger, like life goes on forever, changed, so rather than happily letting life continue to drift by, I now cherish the times spent with my family and we all make an effort to see/talk to each other much more.

Changing the subject, I was an avid Red Dwarf fan from the age of 12 (the smeg years), watched Scrapheap religiously, and watch/ed every episode of Carpool and Fully Charged (what happened to MoWer?) over the years, so I gotta just say well done on doing what you have done/do, I for one have been digging your 'content' for almost 3 decades Bob! (and for the record, you can't do 'too many' Kryton impressions). So one day I took a look at your wikipedia page to see if there was anything else you were up to, and that's when I discovered that you've only gone a written a load of books! (and have a blog to boot). They we're all intriguing but Brother Nature caught my attention as the one to start off with, I'm only 50 pages in (only get to read a few pages a night) but I'm hooked mate - excited to see what Nina does with the job offer and what she does with the chip and her bro. Anyway, I just wanted to give you your just dues (you probably get this all the time but what the hell, I'm sure it doesn't get old!) and keep it, and your work, firmly up fella.

June 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStu

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