The youngest spends the journey scowling at me intoning how ‘all the other mums are on time’

The youngest spends the journey scowling at me intoning how ‘all the other mums are on time’

Johnny Logan brought home the Eurovision trophy in 1980 with his heartfelt rendition of, ‘What’s another year?’

The lyrics, penned by Shay Healy, were emotive and full of longing. Aided by the mop-topped chanteur Logan, it swept the boards to secure Eurovision glory.

Ultimately, I feel they missed a trick with penning a catchy follow-up along the lines of, ‘What’s another school year?’

Because let me tell you, it would have been chock-full of even more longing, tears and wringing of hands skywards. It would have been an anthem for parents everywhere. Uniting nations and ensuring the No 1 spot in the charts for the duration of the summer.

But alas, there was no such ditty and here we are — at the end of another school year. Firstly, congratulations in making it through, for the most part, in one piece.

Yes, we are all a little more worn around the edges, exhaustion levels have peaked and you are haemorrhaging money quicker than the government scrabbling for coins down the back of the sofa to throw a few coppers into the ‘must do better’ fund when the budget rolls around.

The last four weeks of school are brutal, for all involved – children, parents and teachers. We are all edging towards the finish line trailing threadbare uniforms, suspicious smelling lunchboxes and our dignity. But, there are still things to be done.

First on the agenda are ‘The Days’.

Namely, those occasions which are rammed into that last month in one never-ending sequence of: “I need a costume. For tomorrow.

I need to dress up as a crazed ferret who transforms into a book by pulling a thread on the parachute he wears which also releases a stream of confetti into the air which rains down like little drops of magic. It also needs to smell like strawberries.”

Throw in Sports Day, end of school concerts, school tours, and it causes me to start dropping balls right, left and centre.

That’s before you even get to all the extra-curricular end of year malarkey. In the past week alone, I’ve been to two recitals, a fun-day, a Parents’ Day and a funeral for a worm. What can I say? She has ambitions towards opening her own funeral parlour in the future.

Then, there is the last-minute dash for teachers’ gifts. Every year I admonish myself for not being more organised, yet the following year rolls around and the vicious cycle begins again. In honesty, I would gift the teachers an all-expenses paid holiday to some exotic destination if it were a possibility.

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Purely for having to endure my children for an entire year. But more so for having to endure me.

The one time I was somewhat organised, I selected a beautiful planner for each teacher.

I spent time wrapping them and felt rather smug with my efforts. Until, on arrival at school the next day, I noticed several children holding book shaped packages. What was I thinking? A diary to a teacher is like, “Florals? For spring?

Ground-breaking”. Can you imagine having to regift a dozen or so planners?

Last but not least, is my record-breaking attempt. No, not at some athletic feat of super-human strength. More over it is in relation to timekeeping. Nothing is later than me getting my children to school on time in the run-up to the summer holidays.

I have almost begun to see it as a personal challenge. Mainly because I appear to have acquired a veritable talking clock in the back-seat of the car; well, two to be accurate. My children have a curious fixation with time.

One in particular has an obsession with the smaller measurements — ie, the minutes and seconds. As they hop into the back in the morning, I hear the youngest enquire of him: “Are we late again because of her?” The replies vary but they run along the lines of:

We have two minutes and 32 seconds before the bell rings; we’re not going to make it.

They refuse my logic of the need to dispense with the rushing as they will have plenty need for punctuality when they are older.

The youngest will then spend the journey scowling at me in the rear-view mirror whilst intoning how “all the other mums are on time”. Which in turn causes me to ease my foot off of the accelerator slightly.

They barely glance at me as they slam the door to run down the drive.

Then I notice some new parents, walking their children in to view the school.

On the first day back, they will tearfully wave them off at the classroom door. We’ve all been there.

But pretty soon, they too will perfect the ‘drop and roll’ drop-offs while blaring some heavy metal as they U-turn out of the car park.

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