Leona O'Neill on the end of the school holidays
WE made it. We have arrived at the end of the summer holidays. We survived all the horrors and trauma that the school holidays always bring and we lived to tell the tale.
High fives to everyone and big ups to whatever God you believe in for getting us this far without anyone being killed, jailed or shipped off to an orphanage.
The kids are back at school where they belong. They are back with the professionals who actually get paid money to listen to their demands and complaints for six hours of the day. Congratulations to you, fellow parents.
In celebration of this momentous day, maybe today or maybe tomorrow you'll have a few sweet, beautiful hours of blissful peace to have a cup of tea without a chicken nugget being dunked in it, or you might treat yourself to watching a television programme whose main character is not a talking fish, a perfect princess or a sponge called Bob.
Enjoy every single second, you deserve it. Until the next summer school holidays, the world is quite literally your oyster.
On various days this week, kids with their pristine new uniforms and sharp new haircuts, will be dragging their newly-heeled feet into school and flopping down on their chairs, grumping about life not being fair. I imagine there might be more of the same type of behaviour in staff rooms up and down the country.
In contrast, parents will be skipping out the school gates like gazelles, throwing off their coats and handbags with a weighted degree of symbolism and swinging it round their heads, cowboy lasso style – maybe lodging said coat or handbag in a nearby tree for the craic – whooping and laughing and hugging and high-fiving anyone within a 100 metre radius. Some parents might even feel compelled to grab people dramatically by both shoulders, tears in their eyes, and manically sing the entire lyrics to that Destiny's Child song Survivor at them.
Some might express their joy through the medium of contemporary dance. Whatever you witness this week, just let it go and don't judge. Us parents have been through so much, we need to let it out. It's not healthy to keep that much trauma locked away. It's been a tough two months.
The kids with their big sad faces and glum proclamations of things not being fair just wash off our backs at this stage. Even the look of resignation and despair of the teacher's faces don't invoke sympathy. We don't care! We're free! We don't need that negativity in our lives. Maybe in December we might feel a bit sorry for the teachers. But at the moment, we no longer have to listen to small people complaining about being bored or it being raining, we can read a newspaper on the day it comes out or go to a coffee shop for a coffee in a fancy cup during the day and no-one is going to take that away from us.
This week I will be using any free time to write to the education minister with a proposal that teachers come round our houses and iron uniforms and put together packed lunches as part of their jobs, to allow parents to recuperate from a summer of trying to entertain perpetually bored children indoors because of the ceaseless, depressing Irish rain.
I shall also be seeking some manner of compensation from both the education department for the super long holidays and perhaps the department of environment over the rain. I was thinking of demanding a spa break for every parent. I'll let you know how things pan out.
Whatever happens now we can relax safe in the knowledge that the kids are being looked after by professionals who will also learn them how to read and write gooder and do other important stuff.
That is until the next summer holidays, which are only 10 months away...