We’ve had a good run. Three years in which drop-offs and pick-ups have been straightforward, with Isaac, Toby and Kara attending the same school. But, alas, that’s coming to an end.
For four years we had split logistics, across a combination of school and nursery. Since September 2016, we’ve had all three together at the same primary school. Not only that, but a mere seven minutes’ walk from our house.
No more, though.
As of September, Isaac will be moving up to secondary school, while the other two remain where they are. He’ll face a much longer journey too: potentially a pair of 2km walks sandwiching a train to Reading. It will be a big adjustment for him. It will be a big adjustment for all of us.
All that’s in the future, though. There’s still an entire summer stretching out ahead of us.
And, before that, a final milestone for me: one last opportunity to do the school run together with all three of them. That day arrived yesterday.
One last time
I haven’t done the school run that often over the last few years, maybe two or three times a month. Enough that it’s formed an occasional part of my routine; not so much that I’ve taken it for granted.
It’s been a small, regular window of time when I have all three of them together without the distraction of TV or their many activities and interests. A chance to chat about their daily routines, or just to hold hands as we walk. Not big, meaningful interactions, but little moments that allow me to feel like part of their school lives.
I’ve watched them grow and become increasingly independent. Often they’ll split off and walk with classmates they encounter along the way instead. So sometimes I’ve had all three of them, sometimes one or two.
Yesterday, though, once I’d explained the significance of the day, they all happily walked together with me one last time. It was a nice little moment. Nothing particularly noteworthy or of great portent, just a tiny, simple slice of father/children time to add to my personal memory bank.
I made a fuss over them to gather them together for a group photo in front of our house. We’ve always done a traditional first-day-of-school shot, of course, but this one felt more significant. They even all managed to pose first time without pulling faces or blinking. It was almost as if on some level they understood that this photo mattered to me and I wanted to get it right. I’m glad they did.
New school, new routines
Come September, Isaac will be wearing a different uniform and heading off to his new school. His routine will be significantly different to the other two as well, as he’ll be leaving the house more than an hour before them. So we may never have a photo quite like this ever again.
Does this make me sad? Yes, a little. But I’m still 90% excited, as is Isaac. There’s a touch of regret knowing that, after this week, he won’t see all his mates every day any more. But he’s also fully bought into the new adventure ahead of him. If he’s not sad, why should I be? I’m thrilled for him.
It’s the end of an era. But also the beginning of a new one. Just because something good is coming to an end doesn’t mean there isn’t something better just around the corner.