Today is one of those little family mileposts for us.
It’s my daughter’s very last day at school.
Okay, she’s got to go back every now and then to do a few more A level exams but this is officially her last day at school.
It all started back in 1998 when my son started at our local primary school and that’s really when our life changed.
Up until that point we had lived life more or less as we pleased as regards the calendar.
We were very privileged as parents of pre school children due to the fact that my wife is Australian. We spent a great deal of time in Queensland during British winters living very cheaply and feeling more than a little smug.
When you have babies and toddlers drastically reduces the amount of time and effort you spend dressing your children.
They didn’t need to wear much with daytime temperatures hovering around 30c. My son never wore shoes from the moment he got off the plane at Brisbane airport and ran to see Grandma who’d always be waiting for us.
My wife and I have never had regular jobs, I’ve never done a 9 to 5 five days a week job. It’s either flat out, shooting TV series, working at weekends and travelling all over the place, or I’m working at home and walking 10 meters to my office.
We never went on holidays during ‘holiday times’ and we always arranged our travel plans around cheap tickets and low crowds.
But when my son started school that all changed. Suddenly we had to be around every day at specific times to get them to school and be ready when they came home. We had to have holidays when everyone else had holidays; we suddenly couldn’t spend 3 or 4 months in Australia over the winter, we suddenly had to travel at peak times.
I suddenly became more stressed.
This picture was taken in Paris when we had a 'weekend break' hyper rushed visit in 2000.
So although today is a sad day in some ways, there’s definitely an up side. My son has already left home, he now at University in Bristol and my daughter is off to Australia this summer for an unspecified time.
We’ve had empty nest anxiety for a while and we’ll soon discover what it really means. My children have been such an integral part of my life for the last 20 years the change seems very sudden and permanent.
Okay, we are now much more flexible in our arrangements, it’s only dogs and chickens that rely on us but I know I will miss my wonderful babies for the rest of my life.