We’re back to (home) school this week. The start of the summer term in Year 1. A new milestone for us – one that Jessica never reached. We’re missing her a lot this week. Not that we ever stop missing her, but this week especially so. It’s the awareness that we are now in a new term and on new ground along with the moments of watching Sophie and Thomas having fun in the garden and being acutely conscious that there should have been three of them playing together.
It is weird to think that returning to school after Easter in Year 1 is a moment that I’ll never experience with either of my girls. I’d never have guessed for one moment back at the start of Year 1 in September that I would be home-schooling Sophie for the start of the summer term. I’ve been amazed though at how well she’s coped with it all, and I’m grateful that she does want to learn and enjoys doing so. But, although she is coping well on the whole, she is really missing her friends and the social aspect of school. And that lack of social interaction is also bringing home once more how much she misses Jessica.
The other night at bedtime when she said goodnight, she said to me, “I hope you dream about Jessica,” and then told me that she dreams about Jessica quite a lot along with dreaming about her favourite TV programmes. She’s been drawing more pictures of us as a family, including Jessica, with happy faces because we’re all together and then sad faces because Jessica died. She writes little notes to Jessica, telling her that she misses her. And I can see how much she longs to have a playmate who can play with her on the same level; who can sit and get lost in imaginative small world play with her. She adores Thomas and is amazing with him; they have lots of fun chasing each other around the garden, but he is too little to play properly with her. As with us, the hole in her life is Jessica-shaped.
Pre-lockdown, she at least had her friends to play with every now and then. They’ve been like substitute sisters to her – one of her best friends is even referred to as being her “school sister”. But now she isn’t able to play with them either and I think she’s starting to struggle more with that. It’s so tough. I can try to take time to play with her a little more, but I can’t fix this for her and that is hard. But I’m glad that she is finding ways to express things – particularly through writing and drawing – and hopefully that will help her through.
Things that have made me smile this week
- Putting together another live-streamed Sunday service – this time as part of a team.
- Sophie wanting to join in and be filmed at the piano ‘just like Mummy’.
- The way Sophie and Thomas sit together when watching something on the iPad. It so reminds me of watching my girls together.
- Baking (and eating!) blueberry muffins and peanut butter cookies.
- Doing some nature art with Sophie.
- Seeing the roses starting to bloom in the garden.
- Watching butterflies in the garden.
- Learning about parts of a flower with Sophie.
- Thomas sleeping through the night a couple of times – it’s amazing what a difference a good night’s sleep can make!
- Watching the children having fun with bubbles in the garden.
- Being able to do home learning outside in the garden with Sophie.