I waved goodbye to his green eyed gaze through the classroom window. His antsy expression and edgy perch shouted of overwhelm. The class bustle ‘sidetracted’ him from his emotions.

I’ll look forward to that meltdown after school then….. Said no mama ever.

I drove to the supermarket. In silence.
At no point did I pull the car over to issue the ultimatum,
“If there is one more poky finger / scream / snot flicking incident I will make you WALK home”.

I shopped without having a
panic attack
hissed voice
through clenched teeth
threat for good behaviour.
My ankles are curiously unbruised from those tiny trolleys of terror.

I came home, inhaled chocolate and coffee and thought,
“Oh! Isn’t it quiet?”

This I have craved for the 44 days of summer.
Now I am in disrepose.

If I have any more coffee, I may well develop a stutter.

My nerves are set to high alert, where they had to sit during the summer months to keep everyone alive. Now they are being kept alive by professionals, I can climb down from the code red. Silence is no longer suspicious.

Summer. My heaven-hell roller coaster.

I read somewhere – probably an instagram meme, as that’s where all my recent knowledge seems to come from (Oh the colossal shame of it!)

“Don’t let a difficult 10 minutes colour your perspective of the whole day.”

You know the moment where there’s a meltdown, a punch, someone scribbles on something and mystery wee appears on the floor … all in the space of trying to get out the door to a playground?
No?
Maybe that’s just us.

That intense insanity, shouty parenting isn’t the whole day – just a teeny slice of an otherwise fairly good even-managed-to-all-sit-down-and-read-a-book-and-do-some-craft-limited-telly-playing-outside kind of day.

My summer holiday:
10% so horrendous I don’t think even a therapist would know how unravel it.
90% lake swimming, sandcastles and ice lollies in the garden.

It was the summer the eldest learnt how to play dollies under the determined tutelage of the threenager.
The summer she fell down the stairs.
The summer he walked the neighbour’s dog.
The summer we found a field of teeny frogs.

Our babysitter quit. Another one gone.

It was bubbles and skates and bikes and swings.
They fell and bruised and scraped and howled.
And grew.
And screamed with trampoline laughter… till they were shouted at by the grandad down the block.

It was the summer where I caught flashes of the golden shimmer of their childhood. Occasionally.
If I’d slept enough the night before and squinted at them, in just the right way, into the glare of a full August sun.

Tell me. Did you survive?
Are you unscathed?
Is it eerily silent where you are?

I was born in Ireland, grew up in England and met my Cornish husband in Catalonia. We now live in the Netherlands, in Dutch suburbia with our two differently wired, small kids. I spend my days parenting, writing and being amazed at all the Dutchness around me.

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