Another new year. Time has passed.
An ex student posted this photo on Facebook of us all; I had organised this 5th Form Project pony trekking for a week in Wales when I still lived in Kent. I remember how my knees hurt and the exhilaration of galloping together up hills with the wind in my hair. The only time I have ever galloped. The students were 16 ..now they have children of their own.
A colleague retired at Christmas. He has always been at the school while I have been there and now he has gone.
I am one of the old brigade. I have been at the school for 20 years next year. A life time. Literally. I am old enough to be the mother of at least half of the staff.
I didn’t think when I moved up from Kent that I would still be in the same school 19 years later. I didn’t look that far ahead. I needed a job and got one. And within and around and alongside of this job I have done many others and still do, and yet this job has been a consistent vein to my sometimes inconsistent life.
A student teacher this year has shown me photos of her now grown up brother who I used to teach. My youngest son comes home from school to tell me I taught his friend’s mum. Another ex pupil comes to observe me teach as she is re-training to be a teacher after a career in London. She has a child.
From the time I was born until when I left home at 18 I didn’t notice time passing, or if I did it was only to see blossoming; people getting taller, growing breasts, breaking voices, starting periods, learning to drive, passing exams. All there was to see was expansion and growth.
From 18 until I moved up here aged 33 I moved around a lot; Sutton, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, India. Never in one job or one house for long. So I was never anywhere long enough to see people change. I did see my best-beloved tutor group turn from nervous 11 year olds into beautiful, witty, characterful 17 year olds; more growth and expansion.
But now I have stood still for a longer time, I have put down roots. Ex-pupils are now parents with their own children at Open Evenings. Colleagues are retiring. hair is streaking with grey, backs are bending, faces are lining, memories are muddling.
I am standing still and so can see age walking with us all. I see not just blossoming of the young people I work with, but I see wilting and shedding and my hands with the same liver spots my grandma had.
It is tempting to move on, to butterfly my life again as in my 20s so time only touches me more lightly, in passing, before I move on again.
But my children anchor me to time. I can no longer hide from my reflection.
As my children blossom, I wither. It is the way of things. Their spring to my autumn.
I can never move on from my children and in their faces shining, I know I will watch mine dimming.
It is a curious reflection and melancholic.
There is no answer, no conclusion, no solution.
I don’t know what wisdom to impart.
It’s just my observation.
I can see why some people chose not to stand still for too long….
The next Red Tent is this Friday the 19th, all women welcome, just arrive with a cushion and £5.
Sunday 4th February – Imbolc Early Spring Retreat
As the days start to lengthen let’s spend some time spring cleaning our inner and outer worlds. Then let’s spend time imagining all the good that we would like to have in our lives in the year ahead and plant seeds to help the vision grow. We will use a mixture of meditation, coaching tools, reflection and sharing nurture and awaken from the winter. Get in touch to find out more or book your place as spaces are limited.