And just like that, they're back to school.
After five months of home-schooling, of baking lime loaves (and lemon and orange ones), of community-style games of Scrabble in the kitchen, of planting dahlias and watching them grow on the windowsill in repurposed Pot Noodle pots, and watching bees enjoying our flowers in the garden, of cream teas and chocolate chip pancakes, of rock painting, of building bug hotels and making bird feeders from plastic bottles, of social-distanced leavers' gathering in primary school playgrounds, my girls are back at school and college.
In some ways, lockdown has gone on forever (I can just about remember back when Isobel came home on that final Thursday of primary school, although we didn't know that would be her last day. We thought she'd be home for a few weeks of home-schooling and then be back after Easter. Bless us) but it also, weirdly, seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye. And I'm usually itching for the kids to go back to school after six long weeks of summer holidays (ha ha ha) but this year it's harder to let go and I would quite happily remain cocooned in our house for a bit longer (although I'd pass on the home-schooling, thank you very much).
I'm always anxious when it comes to back-to-school time, but it's even more nerve-wracking this time around; not only is Isobel going back to school, she's starting a whole new one, with teachers she's never met before because with no school, there was no transition period between primary and secondary school to ease them in. Plus, there's the added worry of everything Covid-related - masks, the inability to social distance in a school, the threat of a second wave. Can we go back to rock-painting and growing dahlias, please? Just for a teeny bit longer?
No, I know that can't happen, and Isobel was looking forward to starting her new school (while fully aware the novelty will soon wear off). I've got to put my big girl's pants on and get on with things, aka dive into planning my next book, which I'll be writing a (hopefully) big chunk of during this year's Nano. I'll also be making sure everything is ready for the publication of The Twelve Christmases of You & Me next month which, like starting a new school, is exciting and scary in equal measures.