Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Holidays are interesting. As a teacher, I have LOTS of them.  I only work 9 - 3.30 and then have a total of 16 weeks paid holiday every year. 

Huh. That's not precisely true. I actually work from 8 - 5 in school, then some when I get home. Often at weekends, too. My lunch 'hour' (50 minutes) is usually half filled with duties or extra-curricular clubs.

But I DO have 16 weeks when I'm not in school. The other 36 are so intense that I literally spin on the spot at times, like some robotic automaton in a factory on top speed. I amaze myself with the amount of work I achieve. Often, sleep suffers. 16 weeks is only just enough catch up time...

So holidays are breaks from work. They are 'catch-up' time.
Catch-up on school work - planning, preparation, research.
Catch-up on home work.tidying, cleaning, sorting.
Catch-up on friendships: time for coffee, meals, barbecues on the beach.
Catch-up on life.

But holidays are also full of change. 
Change of scenery,as we go away.  This year was a riotous week on a boat in France. We ambled slowly down a beautiful river, drinking in the beautiful views, swimming in clear, warm water, visiting impossibly picturesque villages, enjoying the quiet of sleepy streets on sunny afternoons, laughing as we jumped, dived or swung off ropes into the water. Praising God for music and beauty and friends.

Change of atmosphere at home. Two grown 'children' who go diligently to boring jobs throughout hot summer days so that they can save up enough money to support themselves in full-time Christian work. I am learning how to be a mother all over again. It seems just as difficult this time round: mothering, nurturing, supporting...adults.

Visitors, too.  Family staying, almost three generations as my nephews are aged only 2 and 6, young enough to be my grandchildren. In theory. The change in the house seemed radical: far from expanding to accommodate 4 more people and many toys, the very building seemed to shrink on itself. Once they had left, the house relaxed with a sigh, stretching weary walls towards the garden.

And parties. Two LARGE ones. Washing up and clearing up took only a day, but it seemed like a year.

And I changed. I changed from being a dedicated, focused, intensely hard-working career teacher who can't often be bothered with cooking and cleaning, to a nurturing home maker who looked for opportunities to bake and cook and share and welcome.

That was a GOOD change. I needed this holiday.

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