The school rang and asked me to collect her because she wasn’t her usual cheery self. They were right – she turned into a full-on Linda Blair as soon as we got into the school car park. She came home, collapsed on the sofa, and stayed there all day, sipping water.
The following day, Flea seemed better but she was hot, and tired, so I called the school and kept her home. we spent the morning making a huge stash of meatballs for the freezer, then in the afternoon we read books, drew pictures and Flea played with her Playmobil while I did some work.
The next day, Flea woke up and said to me: “Can I have another day at home, Mummy?”
Now, obviously, a responsible parent would have said: “No, darling. You’re all better now so you should go back to school so as not to fall behind in your school work, thereby putting you at risk of long-term educational failure and the school at risk of a poor inspection.”
Sadly, I’m not a responsible parent. I’m me. So I said, “Sure, why not?”
We had another lovely day. We went to the bank and the grocery story, then came home and made a casserole for lunch. We composed our own (very bad) song about monkeys with our guitars. We read some stories, we watched a movie, then there was a very long involved game with about a hundred toy cars.
I feel bad. But since Flea’s started school, I really miss days like that. On alternate weekends, Flea is with her Dad, which is great, but that always involves Flea having two big days out. So we only have every other weekend to just spend time together.
Flea went back to school the next day, and I felt a little pang – like I always do – at feeling I’ve had to hand her over to someone else far, far too soon. And right now, the summer holidays seem very far away.