Back to School

Today marks the beginning of ‘Back to School’ for everyone in my house. Hazel’s first day as a ‘senior infant’ started today without a hitch and on Monday, Zoe goes back to Montessori. Who does that leave now? Oh that’s right…My wife goes back to the big school that she works for and Darcy starts her first day of ‘Daddy Day Care’. This consists of: how to make an espresso, running Portmarnock beach with the mountain buggy, golf on Portmarnock’s back nine and then back to Gibney’s for six pints. OK so maybe not those last two things (although I did find a golf club on the sand the last time I ran Portmarnock – someone must have thrown it there in a fit of sporting rage).

So what will this new setup mean for the house’s dynamic? What will ‘Daddy Daycare’ really be like for the coming school year and in the short term (the autumn)? Well I can tell you it will start with the very best of intentions. I intend to write many books between now and Xmas and while not all of them will be bestsellers, I hope to have achieved a rather heady amount of success…when I wake from this dream I will see to Darcy’s demands. As I look up from the laptop, I will realise there is a tiny little person there waiting to be taught everything there is to know and who better to teach her than a know-it-all like myself. This may sound bad but I will start as I don’t intend to go on. Any small progress I can make on the next project will be lauded and paraded but Darcy will come first and that may mean I produce no more than a solitary few chapters…so be it. You’re only a baby once, you’re only a senior infant once and you’re only an accountant…we’ll forget about that last one.

Everyone’s going back to school……except me.

The thought of Hazel going back to primary does take me back in some way to my school days. She is really enthusiastic and of course misses some of those friends she didn’t see during the summer. When I was at school there was no back to school enthusiasm or at least it waned year on year (many would feel the same). The main difference, as I see it, was the timing. Us young Kiwis were always forced to go back to school right in the middle of our summer (Feb/March can be the most settled month’s weather wise in that part of the world). I would sit there looking outside at the thirty degree day and wonder why the summer holiday hadn’t been like that. In the case of these emerald shores, summer is done and dusted and in truth we’ve had a better return on our daylight saving investment this year. It’s actually been a very good summer to go nowhere at all.

If I have to be honest though, there will be a little something missing when there is no Hazel bugging me for food, none of Zoe’s myriad of facial expressions and no wife to keep us all to life’s timetable. Of course they’re not going anywhere but for those few hours a day when I’m staring at Darcy seeing more and more of her big sisters in her and she’s staring at me wondering when the hell the entertainment is going to begin, you can guarantee it’s going to be one of those moments. The moment where you take stock and think ‘I’m bloody glad for my lot’. I’m also glad I’ve had these months with my other half that most don’t get to have or dare contemplate. The weekends in Wexford, the countless visits to Tayto Park…even the bloody painting and spring DIY gave us this time together that few others have. It’s to be treasured, end of story.

So school bells ringing, lunches are packed, and the ledgers are ready to be balanced……oh and the bananas ready to be mashed. Sorry Darcy.

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