Tink is due to start school nursery in September – 5 mornings per week at the same infant school H currently attends (and which I attended as a child!), so I have been doing a lot of thinking about the future, and, you know what? I can’t see it. It is literally like a blank page in my mind. A black hole. Nothing. And it scares me silly! I’m a planner. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, who I’m doing it with and what I’ll need to do it. I don’t do spontaneous very well. I don’t like not having a plan. But now, we can’t plan. At least not long-term. We don’t know how Tink is going to cope in mainstream school, even at nursery age. We have no idea if this time next year we’re going to have to be considering a different school which better meets her needs. We have no idea if she will even stay in mainstream education or whether a school for other children like her will be on the cards. Then, even longer term, we have no clue if she’ll successfully fledge into the grown-up world of work and socialising, living alone, living with someone else, having kids….
Obviously, this is all years away, but I can’t help thinking about it and feeling a bit despondent. It’s not part of the plan. So far, I’ve had a pretty good life – brought up in a loving household with two loving parents who worked hard to provide for us and gave us all the time and attention we needed. My brother and I had a great education at grammar schools (so that dream’s out of the window for my kids now!) and although I fluffed going to university thanks to a pretty shitty relationship at the time, I made it in the end and graduated last year at the age of 37. I am happily married (for the most part!) and have two beautiful children and a fantastic stepson. We don’t own our home, but we have a roof over our heads and live comfortably. I have a job I enjoy that allows me time with my children in the school holidays. Life is fairly uncomplicated…. So that’s pretty much how you hope it will go for your kids, don’t you? Then, one of them is hit with the ‘A’ stick and all your plans and dreams fall apart. And it’s hard.
But, when I start falling into the black hole mystery of Tink’s future, I remind myself of the fantastic piece ‘Welcome to Holland’, by Emily Perl Kingsley (I’m sure you’ll know it, but if you haven’t, go take a look). And I remind myself that yes, Italy was the plan – I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, but now we’re in Holland and, you know what? Holland looks pretty special, and exciting, and…. spontaneous.