The Last Child


This is my thirteenth and last consecutive year of being at home with at least one small child.

Jude starts school next year and I’m really in two minds about it.

I used to look at the Mums at the Cheers & Tears morning on the first day of school, blubbering away, tears flooding the school hall floor over watching their youngest child starting school and I’d wonder what on earth they were crying about. “You are free! Go and have a pedicure, go home and talk to nobody, N O B O D Y”. A foreign concept for me.

Now I realise that makes me sound like a heartless bitch but because every time any of my kids have started school, I’ve aways had one in waiting. So what’s to get sentimental about when you’re going to go straight home and wipe their younger sibling’s bum and argue over whether their sandwich should be cut into squares or triangles?

I have a friend who also has four kids. We stick together. Strength in numbers when you’re vastly outnumbered and all that. Anyway she and I would often sit together and discuss these grieving mums and we’d be like “Seriously we will never be like that, how good will it be when they are finally all at school”.

Well her twins went off to school this year and she was one of those distressed mums that used to bewilder us. Except she cried more tears then everyone put together (so I’m told, I was home wiping someone else’s bum and cutting sandwiches into incorrect shapes).

I will probably tease her about it forever.

She has totally ruined the Cheers & Tears sisterhood. Our sisterhood. The sisterhood of two who understand each other and who when the mercury reaches 40C (okay 38C) we unanimously agree to let all eight of our kids have the day off because trying to wrangle a thousand children on a school run when it’s so hot the asphalt in the road melts then it’s easier to stay at home and camp by our pool together pretending we are awesome mothers.

Anyway. I am starting to feel little feelings that are unfamiliar to me. I think you call it nostalgia perhaps.

Like today Jude and I dropped all three kids off at their separate schools which takes “a zillion minutes” according to Jude and we went to do the food shopping. Like we do every week. We have our own ritual, he knows where everything is, he counts the mushrooms and picks out the sausages he wants for dinner and afterwards he gets to put $4 in the shopping centre ride that over the years the profits of which have sent the owner on several overseas holidays.

I was standing in aisle three when suddenly it occurred to me that next year there will be no Hawaiian holidays for Mr Extortion that owns the ride near Woolworths. Jude will be at school and I will be shopping alone.

Four years ago the thought of supermarket shopping alone was almost orgasmic but now it leaves me feeling a pang of sadness.

Not a lot but a bit. Just a little bit.

I am a cold hearted bitch after all.

This year is the end of an era for me. The last time I felt sentimental like this was the day in London that Rob went and had his vasectomy. I remember walking down Kensington High Street thinking “Wow, this part of my life is really over. How weird, I will never have another child and never be pregnant again”.

But then 9 days after the vasectomy I found out I was pregnant with Jude so that was that. The feeling kind of passed then.

So I have nine months left with Jude before we all find out whether the sisterhood of two will be reunited and I too will be that blubbering mess in the school hall.

Place your bets  …..






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