I wish I’d never wanted them to go back to school, oh the strain...

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - LIFESTYLE -


THE Youngest came out of school the other day do­ing a pretty good im­pres­sion of The Hunch­back of Notre Dame.

As she reached the car, she pitched for­ward and gasped, ‘take the bag,’ point­ing at her back. I went to take the school bag and stag­gered back­wards with the weight of it.

‘Je­sus Mary and Joseph! What have you got in here? A body??’ Que eye roll. ‘Nooooooooo…..that’s my home­work.’

I heaved the bag into the boot, sweatin’ buck­ets an thought to my­self, ‘ well the hon­ey­moon pe­riod didn’t last very long.’

And I know you’re all go­ing to say, ‘A cou­ple of weeks ago she was moan­ing be­cause she couldn’t wait for them to go back to school, now she’s moan­ing be­cause they ARE back!’ But if I tell you that I weighed the bag when we got home, out of cu­rios­ity and it weighed 5 and a half stone, would you think I was some­what jus­ti­fied in giv­ing out?

Five and a half stone on your back, ev­ery day, that’s like car­ry­ing a not so small child to school. I don’t re­mem­ber ever hav­ing that heavy a bag go­ing to school. We all had those green army bags that held a few books and copies, your pen­cil case and your sam­bos wrapped in tin foil. That’s all we needed.

And as for home­work……. well all I can say is I’m a bro­ken woman! I get an ex­emp­tion for maths be­cause Him­self knows I can’t add 2 + 2, but French, Ir­ish, English, His­tory and Home Ec all fall to me to su­per­vise.

Her sec­ond day back and she was told to right a speech in Ir­ish about the dan­gers of mo­bile phones. The word mo­bile phone didn’t even ex­ist when I was in school! How do you even source the vo­cab­u­lary for this when you haven’t a book to work from? We cob­bled to­gether about 8 sen­tences, which took a full hour and re­quired a stiff gin and tonic af­ter­wards. Not our finest mo­ment.

Then there was the full page of ques­tions on Romeo and Juliet which took all of Sun­day af­ter­noon when we should have been en­joy­ing our­selves at a lo­cal fair. Not to men­tion the litany of ques­tions on nu­tri­ents for the el­derly and in­firm and the draw­ing of a map of coloni­sa­tion of the world in 1650.

If this is the be­gin­ning of sec­ond year, what will it be like next year? Can you leave school be­fore you do your Ju­nior Cert? I’m sure I could get her a job. She’s smart and fol­lows in­struc­tions well, she likes an­i­mals and old peo­ple and is a great lit­tle cook, (God knows where she gets that from?)

Even if she does sur­vive the 5 and a half stone bag, moun­tains of home­work and Ju­nior Cert ex­ams, I’m not sure I will!

Justine O’Ma­hony

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