Joshua returns to school today after being off for over two weeks. I do not know if he understands or not, or if he chooses to disbelieve me or if he knows exactly what is going on. when I reminded him that it was back in the ‘bus’ to school last night while he was having a bath, he shook his head vigorously either in denial or disbelief. Today pre-Christmas normality resumes : the taxi will come around 8.20, he will take a packed lunch, he will have a full day at school, creating havoc, and Yorkshire Grandma is coming back from her daughter’s house, where she has stayed over Christmas, to greet him at the end of the school day. He will have no more lie ins until 9.30 and then a morning in his den in his pyjamas, so this week might come as a shock to his system.
It is a big week too as not only does he need to find the energy to return to school, but he also has his respite weekend at the end of the week. So he will go from spending 24/7 with his parents, to being away from us from Friday morning, until Monday evening. Possibly he cannot wait for that, it is certainly not normal for a 17 year old to spend so much time at home with their parents over Christmas I am sure, but I have loved having all of that time together and I will miss him.
This year is not only Joshua’s 18th birthday, but of course, that of his peers – the babies that we spent the first years of our lives socialising with. I met and became friends with five mothers at ante natal class and the first of our group to deliver a baby, came on Boxing day, so she is 18 already. Another girl was 18 last weekend and she had a family meal and then went drinking with her friends. We have had an invitation to the third ‘baby’s’ 18th birthday party at the end of this month and we will be delighted to go and celebrate with her family. Again I am told that she will be going into our local city after the family celebration with her friends, so it will not be a late party. The two boys will be 18 exactly a fortnight before Joshua, next month, during the half term holidays and I have not heard yet how they will celebrate.
We have not yet decided how we will celebrate this anniversary with Joshua, but we too will probably plan a family party as well as something with friends. The fifth of March falls on a Tuesday this year and so he will be at school on his actual birthday, so I will send in party food so that sixth form can make a fuss of him, before we do something in the evening together. I would love to know how Joshua would like to celebrate, so that we could reflect that in our planned celebrations, but I suspect that as long as it involves food – preferably Donald’s sadly -and people that he loves, he will be satisfied. It is more of a momentous ‘coming of age’ to us than to him and Joshua will not be desperate to go to the pub with us, to enjoy his first legal beer, as many of his peers do. He has tried his Dad’s beer before and has never been impressed, so he may be sticking with his beloved orange juice.
So let’s get back to the normality of school days for another couple of months, before we begin to party again. I know how quickly Joshua’s birthday slides in after Christmas and New Year, and by then we will be into Spring and this is how the year slides away from under our feet.