I’ve come to hate boarding school. Not because of the funny matrons I endured or bullies. I wasn’t the kind to get bullied, what with my having already grown to full height. I looked too formidable for any such nonsense. My expression perpetually said, “You mess with me. I kill you.”
Not because of the long road trips either or the wallet annihilating shopping lists that today’s school goers write.
Boarding school has stolen my siblings- four of them and my cousins- three of them and now the house is grim and bare and I’m a walking sob machine. Look at me funny and I’m liable to water you with no hesitation.
If like me, if you’re having a hard time adjusting to a childless house, if you talk incessantly of your sadness to anybody who will listen, wave your grief sodden hankie in the air.
Refrain from melting into the arms of comforters, for their compassion is shallow.
The people around you are willing to tolerate your misery for only so long, two minutes to be exact; and then they start sneering, or tightening their mouths and rolling unsympathetic eyes at you. You’d rather suffer silently; with dignity and poise.
HOW TO SUFFER WITH DIGNITY AND POISE:
Suck it up: End the tears. There’s nothing more embarrassing than clinging to a child when the time comes for her to enter her dormitory for the first time. You will never live the situation down. Her matron will always look at you with a bemused half smirk. Be the adult. Wear your boardroom face.
Story therapy: Encourage them to write. Gabriella got sick of being sent out of our room to give me space to think out and type my stories, so she started penning her own. That way, we were both writers, and both needed the bedroom. Every two weeks, I go to her school and collect one story from her in exchange for something greasy and delicious. Luckily, none of her characters are getting bullied or robbed or beaten or abused. They’re happy and boring. Get your kids to write so that you can have something to show the shrink.
“For the best” Listen to those people who keep saying, “It’s for the best. Mmmmn. It really is” even though they can’t really elaborate on the bestness of putting primary school children in boarding school. For sanity’s sake though, believe them when they say that the children will be fine, that they’ll come home beautiful and un-traumatized.
Back in time: Let your mind fall back to a time when you were the one that had to leave home for a long period of time. Take it back, say, to campus when you were perfectly contented to stay in a single room. It will make the house seem less lonely.
Pray for them: If you’re religious, there’s nothing more reassuring than putting your children in God’s hands now that they are in a space that you don’t control. Bless them obsessively. Pray for favor and good sense to cover them as a shroud. I’m certain that if my own mother hadn’t prayed over me so much, I’d be a very different person and not in a good way.
Get busy. Do stuff. Don’t wallow. Turn your sadness into clean laundry.