My son returns to school tomorrow after his long summer holiday.
"Why do I have to go back on a Thursday?"
"Because those are the school term dates. All over town... not just your school."
"Can I not just go back on Monday?"
Wow... no debate, no argument.
It was wonderful to take him shopping for his new uniform the other day though. This wilol be his last academic year in the infant school... this time next year he will be on his way up to junior school.
I loved it - taking him for his uniform and his new pencil case. But as were just getting his pants, he said,
"Don't you want to get them too long?"
"No... why would we do that?" I asked him.
"Mum got my school pants too long last year so we could sew them up and then take them down when I got big enough."
It's true. She did. They shopped early last year - the week after his holidays had started. And she bought his pants too long and sewed them up, insisting that when they got too short, she would pull them down again.
They got too short in about March this year. We never took them down. We just got new ones and I could never understand why my son was so upset about that. He wouldn't tell me. Until we went shopping the other day, of course.
"Well... let me be honest," I told him, "I'm crap with a sewing kit."
"Hmmm. But what if I grow quick?"
"Oh," I answered, "I'm sure you will. But what we will do is we will give your pants then to a charity shop." Pants are all grey... they work for any school's uniform so my suggestion seemed reasonable to me. He didn't seem that sure, looking at me for a few seconds as though I was from another planet.
"Alright," he concurred finally.
On his first day back at school last year, his Mum was already very sick. But this will be the first year he hasn't had her here to tell him how smart he looks and to mollycoddle him the way he pretends he doesn't like but secretly loves.
In just over a month, it will be one year since she passed. He's acutely aware of that approaching date. It's marked on the calendar above his bed with a sad face. We talk about it, almost every night. He's talking much more now. We say goodnight to the photo of her on his bedside table every single night and he says goodbye to her before he leaves the house.
Tomorrow morning I will wake him up early and we will have breakfast. We'll get his bag packed and we'll take our time. I want to make sure he's ok. "Back to school," day is a big day... and without her, big events are all potentially upsetting.
But the days are going on and the smiles are getting longer and eventually those wounds will hurt a little less...