In my kindergarten class, I like to think of us as a team of 31. There’s me, my classroom assistant Irene and 29 smaller people. Being a part of that team is fun, for sure, but 7 hours a day is tough on us too. We deal with it by packing a good lunch and trying to remember that we’re all in this together.
Then comes a time of day that I find grossly unfair. It’s affectionately referred to as ‘Mama Time’ (or time to go home). When I announce Mama Time, I smile and cheer along with everyone else but its all just an elaborate ruse while I try to hold it together for one more day.
My Mama Time comes but twice a year: Christmas and Summertime. I can’t even get the concept that I have a Mama into these 3-year-old brains I’m working with, let alone the idea that I don’t get to see her every day. I want them to understand, though. I want them to appreciate their Mamas, like I do mine. I think that the older I get, the more I appreciate the woman who raised me. Living away from her might have something to do with it too.
When I do go home, it is a sense relief, rather than excitement that I feel to be reunited with my Mam. I cling like lint to our old and familiar routines. We don’t even spend a lot of quality ‘just-the-two-of-us’ time together (like American sitcoms have told us we should), but there’s no doubt in my mind that she is happy that I’m there and that she savours it just as I do. Even though I’m 26 years old, it still feels reassuring to know that there is someone in the world so reliably happy that I exist.
Last Summer while I was home, my Mam took a week off work to hang out. A whole week! I can’t say we spent the entire week together. Other stuff got in the way and the house wasn’t going to clean itself… Mam knows about my list though and every time I took out my laptop, she reminded me it had to be a whole day. I did the same every time she reached for the hoover.
One day that week, we decided on a whim to drive to Avoca café (an hour away) for an early lunch. Then we lazily shopped for bargains at Kildare Village, mainly staying in stores to avoid the rain. At around 3 p.m., my mind drifted back to my usual work routine (when I’d usually be finishing school) while we were strolling around a photography exhibit by John Minihan. Mama time never felt so good.
€5 has been donated to UNICEF Ireland for the completion of this ‘thing’. Click here if you too would like to donate online.