FOR four hours yesterday, Carol Minihane basked in the calm of a temporary reprieve from her kids.
But any celebration of her new-found – if short-lived – freedom was dampened by the sense of sadness most mammies feel when their offspring first go to school.
This landmark day is an emotional one and for Carol it was particularly so given it marked the beginning of the march into formal education of not just one, but three, of her children.
Mother to three-year-old triplets, Dylan, Jamie and Shauna, she found herself “a bit on the teary side” when they left to start off in playschool at The Haven, Watergate St, Bandon.
“There wasn’t a bother on them really. They went straight in once they saw the jigsaws. They did ask where I was going but when I said I was going to do the shopping, they were fine,” Carol said.
The mother-of-five – she has a daughter Rachel in senior infants and a 20-month-old son, Adam – did do the shopping instead of indulging herself during the four hour break, while her husband John stayed at home with the baby.
It was a hectic morning – up at 7.30am, with lunchboxes ready since the night before – but with her husband at hand to help, they arrived at The Haven in time.
For the first year, they will attend just one day a week and next year, for two days, before moving on to ‘big school’.
“They were born six weeks early on May 27, 2006, so really, I feel they are only just three. One day a week is plenty for now.
“I was a bit teary when I dropped them off, it is another stepping stone, but they handled it well,” Carol, from Oaklawn in Bandon, said.
Being a mother-of-five is not Carol’s only challenge, she also works part-time at Schering Plough in Brinny, manufacturers of biotechnology-based pharmaceutical products. Her husband also works for Schering Plough. Family help out with the child-minding when work schedules require.
“My mother and father help out and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They’re a fantastic help,” Carol said.
Busy as she is, Carol’s four hours of weekly freedom won’t buy her much time.
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