Have you seen all the back-to-school jokes? It seems that parents everywhere are doing a happy dance now that their kids are back in the care of people they actually listen to. Maybe you are even doing the happy dance yourself? I won’t deny that I feel some of that. Holidays are a twenty-four seven thing. And now instead of me wracking my brain on how to keep them holiday happy without a screen turning them into vegetables, they are out there stretching their brains. Learning useful stuff with friends by their side and all that. But at the end of the June holidays this year I had an epiphany.
School holidays are aging on me. And them going back helps me fix it.
It’s probably time to explain before someone points out how grateful I should be to be able to spend holidays with my kids. It’s not like the holidays were a horror. I loved them. For the obvious reasons – there’s none of that early morning get-to-school-on-time madness. No lunch boxes, uniforms, school runs, extra murals, homework, bedtime or other school routines that make me question the meaning of life. The days just happen, one following the other, with what feels like very little effort and very much enjoyment. Alright, that is if you don’t count the regular guilt attack of needing to do something fun or interesting or educational. Or the nag attack of actually making them do something fun or interesting or educational when all they really want to do is eat junk, watch TV and play Xbox. I do love the holidays. The kids are just there to hang around with. You talk rubbish and spend all that time together without some stupid schedule deciding what it is that has to happen next. You can forget what day it is, let everything slide and it’s all still okay.
Except for hair. Roll your eyes all you want. But letting my hair go is that part of the holiday that ages me.
See, I’m long past the time when hair stylists suggest a colour to add “a little bit of shine”. In a family of dark haired early grey-ers I am firmly in the zone of the six-weekly colour routine. I should probably go at five weeks but that makes me feel way too high maintenance. By six weeks I can’t deny the need for maintenance anymore – the greys have sprouted out of my scalp and no matter how I ruffle it or part it, they’re there, shouting for attention like a bright green swimming pool. This quarter the five-week mark hit soon after the school holidays started. Doesn’t look so bad, will be fine to leave it until I get a chance to go when the kids are at school. That’s what I said to myself. Grey hair is supposed to be fashion forward now anyway, isn’t it? But fast forward me three weeks and all I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror was grey. And it wasn’t a hot fifty shades story.
So on the first day of school I went to the salon. Just before, at school drop-off one of the other mums said, “Shoo, you look tired. Glad to get them back to school I can tell.” Off she went, laughing laughing. Hair perfectly blonded. I moaned at Wade, my hair magician who is at least a good ten years younger than I am. “It’s the grey darling, you’re overdue and it’s so not a good look on you.” Got to love a straight talking guy. Later that same day, in the same clothes, with the same lack of makeup – but post grey – another mum looked at me and said, “Wow, you look great, must’ve had a nice relaxing holiday. Where did you go?”
And that my friends, is my story of the school holidays and how they age me. And how the hair magician Wade made me look as good as the holidays were!
PS The thing with blogging – like most forms of love it / hate it social media – is that you have to pick out one moment or two. Most of us pick out the smiley shiny moments as the ones we want to remember. But to my people who are not having smiley shiny moments, I hope my blog of this one stupid smiley shiny moment distracts you for just a second. My heart is with you.