The Widowed Parent School Run

What does your school run look like?

Mine begins at six thirty am every single flippin day even on days when no school run is required. It’s usually quiet whilst “mum drinks the coffee”, (oh, those first twenty minutes of calm and solitude!), and then crescendos a bit when my teenager stumbles out of bed into the shower. I used to wake up every morning and put the the cafetiere together for me and my husband. Since he died I only drink instant but now it’s like twice as bitter. The eldest is great at getting up early enough to do make up for at least one hour which always seems to consist of blow drying eyelashes and such – the like I never knew of when I was her age in 1994. In 1994 we were at the end of grunge and Cobain had died. Britpop loomed in the distance. So we went from being baggy, dirty scruffbags to androgynous pinstripe suit wearers and never really graduated past that Black Cherry Rimmel lipstick and heavily mascara’d droopy stare long enough to realise that our eyelashes needed curling.

Somewhere to this soundtrack of eyelash blow dry I get the youngest up. And then the fun of continuously ping ponging between each child’s needs begins. Requests for apple juice punctuated with “Where are my socks?” Its like being PA to two extraordinarily self absorbed bosses. The eldest is currently halfway through year eleven and everything about it seems shit-the-bed brutal from the sheer amount of focus and work to everything else teenagers have to go through these days including the need to look good twenty four seven even when instagramming themselves fake sleeping. It’s so full on. Although I can remember the pressure of it myself as a parent I didn’t realise I would also have to feel the pressure of it all over again per every child. I even went to an english lesson with the eldest where again I revisited my youthful GCSE and A level days with a session on An Inspector Calls. I was reassured about my kid after seeing how well adjusted she was in the school. A priceless firsthand experience if you are willing to be taught by someone much MUCH younger than you.

The actual run takes an hour each way because I don’t have a car and the school is quite a distance. The eldest makes her own way to big school. I love the fact I can utilise this time for exercise. Mostly. I do wake up in blizzards or torrential rain and curse the fact I can’t drive, (part of me is thinking of inventing the hot -water -bottle -sewn -into -coat -with -matching -hip flask for those of us who brave zero degrees temperatures and get to pick up too early), but only rarely as I love to walk, always have. Consequently the kids are great walkers and my husband was also was a fan of walking everywhere and to everything. In his case it probably helped serve as a safety precaution to his drinking addiction. In my case it’s pretty much the only real exercise I get on a daily basis and so I treat it as such, (if you don’t count the housework – we can all write a book on the sheer amount of housework that exists in this world I mean, why can’t there be a definitive end to it? Even Game of Thrones had the decency to wrap itself up).

Anyway, our area is an affluent one by and large. There are always pockets aren’t there? To every region there are positive and negatives. I absolutely love ours – the fact that I can afford to live here because someone very kindly gave up their once-in-a-lifetime kind of Victorian flat situated on the corner of the local park. It’s social housing Jim but it’s beautiful. There’s more to it but not really relevant info to the blog – as yet.

Because the area is affluent and close to both Universities it attracts posh students. Students who systematically drop jewellery and banknotes in the street. Yesterday I followed two girls who were talking about their great talent for losing things. They were of typical design – voluminous “bird-nestian” hair with creased trousers too short, Vans and tons of other branded sportswear.

“Yah, that jumper I had? You know the one that gave me the pregnanty vibe?”

“Oh, yah!”

“I lost that last term along with half my wardrobe…” ….

So I followed and followed. One of them was bound to drop twenty quid somewhere along the line. I’ve often thought I could open a Bagpuss style shop with the quality items I find on pavements although for now I’ve taken to selling their abandoned Pandora bracelets on eBay. Also, “pregnanty vibe” – is that in vogue?


  1. Niamh

    I think you have the tone just right Heather. Very difficult to tell it as you feel it. It am sure it makes you feel so exposed and raw. Well Done – I think more people need to be upfront and honest, it helps us all understand each other and have compassion. The world definitely needs that in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hjtannerma

      Thank you – after four years of starting this then trashing it I realised my mental health loves writing and that everyone who rallied around the blog the first time actually found a benefit / a connection. I find this reading other blogs from people in my position. The events are similar but the stories are always unique! Xx


  2. jenniphur

    Hello! Thanks for the follow!

    As a widow, I can relate to the feelings you describe. I admire the other widowed parents I’ve met who have more than one child! I had my hands full with one. I found writing helped me process my grief the best, still helps, especially now that I have cancer and ride that emotional roller coaster.

    I enjoy your writing style and look forward to reading more!



    1. H.J. Tanner

      Thanks for commenting! I appreciate your kind words I am always bowled over by the stories of others and have been reading new writers all week yourself included and will be following along! x


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