While I often feel rather daunted by the 10-week-long school break stretching out ahead of us like an uncrossable chasm, I cannot wait to finish work in three days’ time.
It can feel like a double life. I work in a busy news environment, where, sometimes, my contrasting personas come together with a thunderous clash.
I’ll be head down at my desk, writing a headline for a piece on the insurgency in Iraq, when my phone pings and it’s my other life calling.
“Hi, sorry to bother,” texts my lovely car-pool friend, “but M’s lost his first tooth, I think at your house. Can you look out for it?”
“Sure,” I reply, and fire off a text to our nanny to keep an eye out for a tiny milk tooth, the size of a matchstick head.
“Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty more lost teeth,” I text my friend, who I realise after a couple more messages is upset she can’t put the tooth in a silver keepsakes box. “No need to go through his poo.”
I get back to work. There’s a story on Iran I need to read, and our deadline for getting the magazine to press is looming in three hours’ time.
Then an email pops up, entitled ‘Grade 2’s Got Talent’. It’s Son1’s teacher, giving us more detail about the talent show his class is putting on, and I’m reminded that my (shy) son has to perform some kind of all-singing, all-dancing routine in front of everyone.
But before that social hurdle, we really do have to finish this week’s issue, so I stop Googling ‘easy talent show routines’, and lose myself in a commentary on the jihadist forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – until another text comes through.
It’s DH. He’s at a climbing party, with Son2, who is struggling. Sometimes I feel so bad that I’m not ‘there’ for all these moments – and the kids are growing up so fast – that it’s as though a chute has opened up in my stomach and my heart is plunging through it.
So, as I said, I’m SO ready to finish work. It’s now just a small matter of getting another magazine to press in the next three days; ducking out for the talent show; organising sausage rolls for the end-of-term party, holding the fort while DH is away; and (keep breathing, Circles!) getting Son2 to a Chuck-e-Cheese party.
Then, finally, it’ s time for a break from the office, the traffic jams and the logistics. The 65-day vacation – let’s call it Operation LongVac (for we all know what it really entails) – is in sight!