The new school year has started here in Scotland and with it come some changes to family routines. My wonderful son Rowan, now almost 18, will be starting college later this month having got the qualifications he needed to do the course he wants to do. He’s going to be starting a HNC in Applied Sciences at a local college. The course is listed as full time but it’s two days 9-5 and one afternoon which will be quite a change from school. My awesome daughter Rose started High School this week. She is attending the same unit that Rowan went to, they call them Language and Communication Resource units now but essentially it is an autism unit located in a mainstream school so if the kids are able to do some mainstream that’s an option for them. It means more travel and longer days for Rose as well as the usual changes of new classmates, new teachers and new environment that you get with moving schools. So far she’s enjoying it which is great.
These things mean my routines also change. I’m only making one packed lunch in the morning and getting Rose up much earlier. She also gets picked up earlier and comes home a bit later so I will get more time to do other things during the day. We are all still getting used to these changes and things won’t be fully settled until the end of the month after Rowan starts college.
During the summer we took the opportunity to take a major holiday abroad. We’ve never taken the kids on holiday out of the UK before (well not since Rowan was 8 months old anyway) so there were passports to sort as well as other aspects of official travel documentation. We went to Canada. We flew from Glasgow to Toronto, spent a couple of days there and then a week based in a lovely rental house in Niagara-on-the-Lake before a final day in Toronto and then flying home. First flight for the kids, first intercontinental flight for me. All went well. We had a great time and did lots of tourist type things around Niagara Falls, usually going out earlier in the day when things were a bit quieter so less queues. Being in a different country, in a completely different part of the world was a wonderful experience on lots of different levels. I’ve been processing some of that in the background since we returned.
While over in Canada I heard that my older sister, Allison, had been taken into hospital following a heart attack. There was nothing I could do of course and at the time I expected that she would make a recovery as so many people do. Sadly she didn’t recover. She died on Wednesday 7th August, five days after we returned to Glasgow. Allison and her family were living near Bath and it wasn’t possible to travel down there before she died. The funeral is next week. I didn’t really know Allison very well. She was adopted shortly after her birth as mum was in her late teens at the time, unmarried and not allowed to keep her first child. When my brother and I were in our teens mum told us about our sister, she didn’t know where she was or if we would ever meet her but we knew that somewhere out there we had another sibling. About fifteen years ago Allison found us and we gradually started to get to know each other. Allison’s adoptive family were all very close and we all met Allison’s adoptive parents and other members of their family. Allison was physically very like our mum, more so than I am and I look a lot like mum. Allison grew up in Lenzie, just down the road from where I now live but lived for many years in Montrose. We didn’t see a lot of each other once she found us and didn’t seem to have a lot in common apart from looks. We were both religious but very different paths as Allison was an evangelical Christian. I think me being Pagan was a bit of a barrier between us, that’s how I feel anyway but It could just be we didn’t really connect. My brother got on with her better. And now, less than fifteen months after our mum died, I have another family funeral to attend. It brings back memories and also focuses the mind on how unpredictable life can be. My thoughts and love remain with Allison’s husband and their children as well as the members of her wider adoptive family as they grieve.
So changes. Personal changes and family changes. Lots of change taking place this month. Lots of things to think about and process. And hopefully that will lead to more blog posts too.