Normality finally beckons for children . . . it’s been a long time coming

School looks set to return to the one we once took for granted

Midterms are my favourite school breaks. Not so long that you start losing the will to live or that the kids turn completely feral, left to their own devices (too often the electronic type) for far too long, such as during the long summer weeks. And not so short that it feels but a taster of a break.

Just the perfect amount of long enough to enjoy the break from homework, school lunches, multiple school runs and, if the stars align, activity runs too. A freedom of sorts, even if the work juggle while trying to keep the minions distracted – or at least stop them from killing each other – can be a challenge of epic proportions.

But did I mention a break from homework? See, I can overcome most things at the thoughts that battle has been removed for a week, at least.

And now here we go, back to school and schools runs with the prospect of fewer drops and collections, I hope, now that restrictions have eased in schools. My daily steps will be down, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I’m excited and nervous for the children as they return to a school experience which will look a lot more like the one of old. Well, to most of them that is – for the one who started school during the pandemic and the one who started secondary during the pandemic, there is nothing for them to compare it with.


The playdates are back too with a vengeance. I never thought I'd miss them so much

The birthday parties have returned already. Sweaty heads and excited faces a joy to behold at pick-up and a new experience largely for my youngest dude who’d missed out on that particular delight before. The playdates are back too with a vengeance. I never thought I’d miss them so much, and the perfect bribe they offer to a Friday.

Zoom calls are a thing of the past, thank God, and the children are looking forward to seeing grandparents who had cocooned again this winter. Nervously does it perhaps, but looking forward to doing it all the same.

And Covid, which had rudely interrupted my youngest children’s vaccination schedule, is sufficiently enough behind us that dose two could be administered. I doubt, however, the lovely vaccinators will forget one of my children in a hurry, who decided this time around he wasn’t so keen on the idea of a needle and wondered if he could be anaesthetised first, to avoid any discomfort. It had worked when he had to have popcorn kernels removed from his ears after all.

Even superheroes have their fears.

We’d been out, over the midterm, for dinner a couple of times. Once, just grown-ups together for a belated celebration of my mother-in-law’s birthday. A fabulous evening, together in person at last, and a far cry from the milestone birthday celebrations we had for her last year, each of us in our own home with individual birthday cakes, doing all that we could do, considering the circumstances, but still sad that it wasn’t the occasion that it should have been for her.

And we ventured out with the troops. All of us at the one table soaking up the atmosphere and inhaling the chocolate brownies. It was good to be back.

Now the last, probably the most significant abnormality in the daily lives of children is set to change. School as they’ve grown to know it, looks set to return to the one we once took for granted. Friends in different classes are no longer off limits. Significant amounts of school-time missed by well children due to close contact rules, which restricted their access to education is a thing of the past. Lockers can return for some who had no choice but to manage heavy school bags these past couple of years, and again I wonder if the ask of children would ever have been considered a tolerable ask of adults.

And fun can return. The fun and activities of old, absent due to restrictions, in spite of teachers’ best efforts. Finally children can have a taste of the old freedoms, just as adults have been recently afforded, and a chance of the normal school experience they deserve.

So I won’t complain too much this week about missing school shoes, half-eaten lunches and the morning rush as we get back into the swing of things after the week off, however tempted I am. I will probably still complain about homework, though, if truth be told.

But I’ll look forward to the milestones, rites of passage and celebrations that look to be back on track this year instead.

Normality finally beckons for children.

It’s been a long time coming.