Summer is almost here. So close I can reach out and touch it.
This time last year I was shaking with terror. Literally. This year, it’s different.
Tomorrow is Elvie’s final day at nursery. Before seven weeks of glorious, laid-back summer. And then Big School.
At least, that’s the plan.
This morning we made cupcakes for the teachers. Despite being utterly intimidated by the hand-decorated wrapping paper on the implausibly large presents that another parent brought in yesterday.
It was fun. We cracked eggs everywhere, covered the table in sugar sprinkles and mixed up some icing in a pretty lurid shade of pink.
Elvie had a great time. Joel mostly licked things. Between them they consumed so much sugar that the traditional pre-nursery meltdown was at least ten times the usual volume.
We’ll miss nursery. Elvie especially.
We’ll miss the structure it gives to our days, and the friends we see on a daily basis.
We’ll miss the toys, and the climbing frame, and the seemingly unlimited craft supplies.
We’ll miss the wonderful teachers, who deserve much more than a day-glo pink cucpcake.
They have treasured her throughout this year. They’ve let her play in the mud and draw endless pictures. They’ve given her such a positive introduction to education, and opened her mind to a hundred new ideas.
We’ll miss them. Seven weeks is a long time to fill. But I’m optimistic about this summer. I’m even (whisper it) looking forward to it. A little bit.
Mostly because of last weekend.
On Saturday we spent all day in the garden. Literally all day. It was beautiful.
The sun shone. Wes built a play-house. Joel bounced on the trampoline. I was weeding. Elvie was covered in mud. Completely covered. From head to toe. As is her way.
It was perfect. Warm, relaxed and surprisingly productive. Followed by a friend’s party in the evening, where we sat outside eating delicious food while the children ran wild into the night.
It was the epitome of calm and gentle. Of our own particular, cherished brand of slow.
It just can’t happen during the week. When we need to eat lunch by midday to get to nursery on time. And we daren’t stay out late because the consequences are disastrous.
Unless it’s the holidays. Which, thank goodness, it very nearly is.
This summer holiday feels like the perfect chance to practice living slowly.
To eat more meals outside. On the floor. To spend hours in the mud. Or digging up weeds at our beautiful new allotment.
To have lazy movie nights. And ice cream. And lots of parties with friends. To take my eye off the time, and the calendar and the to-do list. To breathe deeply. And relish the chance to really connect with my children.
Before Elvie starts school in September and everything changes again.
It won’t be easy. Wes is away a lot. Seven weeks is a long time. The heat makes Elvie spectacularly grumpy. As does being bored. It’ll be a delicate balance to maintain.
But, for the moment at least, the chance of arriving at September as a blissed-out, tanned, tie-dye wearing hippy seems a very real possibility.
That’s already a big improvement on last year. And the holidays don’t start until tomorrow.
I’ll keep you updated.
Unless, of course, I’m too chilled out to bother.
In which case you’ll find me in the garden. Feel free to bring cakes.
Whatever colour they are.