Its the last week of term and unlike my children, I am approaching it with a mixture of relief and terror. Not having the school run or lunch boxes to make will disproportionately return precious hours to me each day, only to be snatched back by the amount of time I will need to spend a) breaking up ridiculous arguments and b) shuffling mess around the house trying to make it look better without actually throwing anything away.
I am a maker and a hoarder and so I suppose I shouldn''t really be surprised that my children are following by example. The end of term not only signals 6 weeks of mess making at home, but a sudden influx from school of all the things my children have made that year that their teachers have no idea what to do with either. Except give it all back to us. One of our best yet was the 'musical instrument' the middle daughter made by suspending scrap metal inside a large cardboard box. My husband said, ooh thats good, I could do with one of those radiator keys, we've lost ours. I just looked at the black paint that was flaking off the box all over the table and wondered how long I had to wait before I could throw it away.
Any attempt to throw anything out is met with hysteria.
We have piles of drawings we like, piles of old drawings from years ago, special piles of the really good ones, piles of the not so good ones that I am waiting for the children to forget about so I can bin them and piles of school projects. We have dolls with clothes, most without, action figures (some with clothes - see above) lego and endless pens, stickers and stationery. We have cardboard boxes that have things stuck to them and inside them, loo rolls, cereal packets, even crisp packets are saved because someone might be able to make something out of it. It is endless and exhausting.
But every now and again one of them comes up with something that reminds me why I encourage their imaginations, maybe because it makes me laugh (like Spiderman in a pink dress) or because, without knowing, they have made something truly beautiful, in appearance and in sentiment (like the daisy and buttercup bracelet) The other day I was chatting to another mum and we both agreed that the world doesn't need more politicians, more embarassingly awful Dragons Den entrepreneurs or beautiful, famous celebrities, we need more people who make beautiful things, more people who think creatively and more people who are nice.
So what started as a moan about my mess making children has actually ended rather differently and for the next six weeks I will try ever so hard not to complain endlessly about the paper, the wool, the cardboard, glue and sellotape on the table and covering the floor.
I will just escape to my sewing room and make my own mess.