The Annual Conundrum


My son goes back to school on Tuesday, so why the conundrum, you ask?  Aren’t you pleased to be shipping your offspring back into the daily routine of uniform-wearing, packed lunches-preparing, playground days, breathing a huge sigh of relief as you skip him (not literally) merrily on his way?

To me, going back to school harks of the end of Summer, and more scarily enough, the beginning of Autumn, looming onwards to the Yuletide season (I refuse to use the “C” word usually associated with December to early in the year).  Cue darker nights drawing in (they’ve sneakily started already).  The BBC have started to advertise “Strictly” too which is as sure a sign of Autumn as the leaves falling gracefully from the trees (next Saturday, by the way, set your recorders now!)

To me, going back to school is reminiscent of freshly sharpened pencils in new pencil cases, yet untarnished by inky stains and loose pencil sharpenings and some clever person decorating it’s virgin cleanliness with clever comments, or idle declarations of who they currently love.  Its a brand new uniform all crisp and clean, still starchy from the packet and itchy name labels scratching the back of my neck.  Its new timetables to learn, new places to be throughout the “working” day and new teachers to either love or hate.  A (school) year older but do we return any wiser following an almost 2 month sojourn from classes?

Now I’m an adult of many years standing (a point we won’t dwell on…) and having sustained many “back to school” moments in my lifetime, I can now merrily pack my son off to school knowing exactly how he’ll be feeling.  A renewed sense of optimism, of trying harder, and doing better in an attempt to please both parents and Father Christmas along the way (damn, I said the “C” word!)  The personal vows you make to yourself after a holiday abroad, which soon dissipate with the reality of day to day life and of the rain clouds and grey days of Autumn.

My boy is thrilled to be going back to school.  Despite his over-indulged summer holiday of cinema trips, parties, days out, staying with Grandma, staying up later and care-free days in general.  He’s looking forward to something as simple as seeing his mates again, swapping summer holiday stories and getting back into the daily routine now he’s an “older boy”.  He’s 7 and a half, bless him.

So onward to Tuesday’s new start.  We’re all ready for it, new uniform, bags, books, swimming gear, sports gear et al, and besides…. it’ll soon be Christmas!


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