The end of the first school year

Today is the end of term. The last day of DD’s first year at school. I know time speeds up as you get older, but this is ridiculous: it seems like a matter of weeks since I left her at the door of her reception classroom for her first full day and then cried all the way back to the car. Mind you, there was the slight inconvenience of the Big C: when I was diagnosed in October we’d barely got into the rhythm of being a schoolgirl and a school mum, and the months since have been a whirlwind of scans and new shoes, chemo and uniform, surgery and learning to read, packed lunches and radiotherapy.

All of which could have had a disastrous effect on such a sensitive soul (DD and me both, ha!) but we got her first report yesterday and I could have died of pride reading it. In the face of all that upheaval and worry (and being the youngest in the school), my extraordinary daughter has done astonishingly well by anyone’s standards. I knew she was a bright cookie and a very lovely small human, but it’s very good to know that her teachers can see everything I see in her.

All I wanted was for her to make friends, enjoy herself, love reading, and have fun, and she’s done that in spades while being ‘A PLEASURE TO TEACH’. Fab. Her teachers have been fantastically supportive all year, dishing out cuddles and, literally and metaphorically, holding DD’s hand as she took her first steps on the school journey. I’ve sent DD in this morning with some very well deserved thank you pressies.

The long-serving, warm, lovely head teacher is retiring today, too, and she will be missed. She knows the name of every child in the primary school, is always ready with a cuddle and praise, and is one of those teachers who you know genuinely loves children. So next school year will be interesting in lots of ways: my treatment will be over by Christmas, there will be a new head teacher in January, and we will be filling in school application forms for my licious DS, unbelievably. He’s not even three until the last week of August, so he’ll be starting when he is four and a week, bless his skinny little knees.

He’s settling into pre-school at his nursery beautifully, though, and will be fine. I’ve always thought that having babies in August or September is particularly tricky: the young ones just seem too little to start school, and September babies often seem bored and more than ready by the time they are finally allowed to start (not to mention that extra year of pre-school fees).

We’ve got plenty of fun lined up this summer: DD’s social diary is already looking pretty packed, including a couple of mummy days out while DS is on his full nursery days. I’ve always taken a day off to see the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, and last year took DD with me for the first time. She adored it, so we’re going again this year together (and then to ‘a little Italian place for carbonara’ as she always requests in London, bless her mini-cosmopolitan soul). And we’ve got tickets to see Kate’s wedding dress at Buck Palace, hurrah!

What DD doesn’t quite know yet is that the summer hols festivities won’t actually start for me until next Friday, when I finally finish The Month of Radio Ga Ga. Next week she’s having quite a few playdates when I’ll be at the hospital for a stupid week of five rads, two consultant appointment, one heart scan and one herceptin drip. Pfft. DD knows none of this. She doesn’t need to. As far as she’s concerned my bad booby is better, because it is. Still, we will be celebrating next Friday night: DD’s asked if we can all go out for a curry, en famille.

In other news, hot off the press (and this will possibly be TMI if you are a bloke), MY PERIODS HAVE RETURNED!! This may not seem like something to celebrate, but there was a general suspicion in medical quarters that the ‘chemopause’ – your lady bits basically going into hibernation for the duration of the treatment – may have turned into full-on menopause. And I’m not even 38 yet, so that did feel too young. I didn’t want any more children anyway, but there is something about that choice being taken away from you that is deeply upsetting. But no! Two weeks ago I felt a familiar twinge in my ovaries, and exactly 14 days later, the mother of all menstruations arrived. I actually think it’s been eight months’ worth all at once: it’s like a particularly grisly scene from the Sopranos every morning, and for the first three days it felt like wolves were ripping out my womb. But I am so bloody pleased that my body is working again, I don’t care. DH was quite emotional when I told him: the idea of having a menopausal wife evidently wasn’t high on his ‘must have’ list this year, on top of everything else.

I was feeling a bit down yesterday, probably because after the novelty of being fertile again wore off, I remembered how tedious periods are, but I have perked up considerably today, not least because I am finally officially a size 12 again and am rocking my new  black skinny jeans. Yay! (Thank you W for introducing me to Tim Ferriss and his Four Hour Body regime – I’ll do a post on this soon).

Today, the sun is shining for the first time in weeks, and after this morning’s session I will be three quarters of the way through the radiotherapy. Whoop! This last big chunk of caaancer-f*cking is almost over!



  1. Great post, as always. DD was bound to get a great report. She is a lovely little girl. When are you going to Buck House? As you know we are taking I for her surprise birthday treat. I can’t wait to see her face when she realises what we are doing.

  2. Our girls are the best. E’s report was so good I nearly cried in front of the head teacher! Especially when she started with ‘Bear in mind she is the youngest …’. What stars our summer babes are.

    B is a beacon for us all, bless her. After the year your family has been through, for her to shine on, no matter what, just shows that the Pinchy spirit is well and truly passed on!

    Love you and so looking forward to catching up at B’s birthday.
    Hugs to all

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