Matthew Munson: Packing in fun over the holiday and getting set for a new term

Matthew and Bryan
Matthew and Bryan

Well, that half term vanished more quickly than Paul Daniels’ assistant during a stage show. I’d spent some time planning for a trip away, and now I’m talking about it in the past tense.

Bryan had asked for “experiences” for his birthday and Christmas, so we packed in a few different experiences up in London this week. We’d hoped to do Go Ape, but the weather put paid to that (although we can rebook for the summer), as well as London Zoo, the Science Museum, some street theatre, and pottering around the sights of the capital. It was also lovely to have a different routine for a few days, although I think we both appreciated getting home and settling back into normality.

We walked more miles than I care to think over the days we were away, and the day after we came home, we stayed inside and recovered our energy. It goes without saying that my thirteen year old son was able to recover more quickly than me. I came home with a bump when I looked at all the washing I needed to do. It’s a glamorous life, being a parent.

Bryan now goes into his final term of being in Year 8 next week, and I feel like I’m being left behind with all the changes. At the end of next year, we’re going to be thinking about his options and starting conversations about GCSEs. Gulp. He was eight years old a few minutes ago, wasn’t he?

It’s a genuine delight to watch my son grow up. I miss the child of eight who first came home and was filled with child-like wonder about the world, but I am also delighted by the young man who he has grown up to be. He is kind, thoughtful, and funny, and a genuinely interesting person. He is passionate about dance and languages, and is still fascinated by the world around him, as well as the people in it. I am so very proud of my son and it’s a privilege to be his dad.

On another note, I’m looking ahead to my next modules at university, albeit that I don’t go back until October. One module that I’ll be doing in January next year is an introduction to drama and writing a script for a one-act play. All three modules I’m doing in the next academic year are going to be interesting, but I’m particularly taken with the drama module. I’m looking forward to learning the art of crafting a script, something which I’ve never done before. I know talented people who write scripts with apparent ease, and I shall be pestering them with questions in the run-up to this module for advice and guidance.

I mentioned to a friend recently about this drama module, and he suggested a few themes I should consider for my script, which we then fleshed out together. Some might be more feasible than others – it’s only a semester, after all – but if this proves to be something I enjoy doing, then perhaps I could continue working on the subject after I finish the topic at university.

So far, balancing work, single parenthood, and university has been fine. Having parents who can help me out with looking after Bryan is reassuring; he is close with his grandparents and is entirely accepting of my status as a mature student, so I think we’re finding a balance. I have to be very focused and organised with my times, and my employers have been very supportive. As I only work part-time, that helps me just about fit it all in, but it does mean that I have to be very organised with my time.

As I’m part-time, I’ll be studying with a different group of students from October. The cohort I’ve been with this year will be moving onto their second year, whereas I have three more modules of my first year to complete. I’m genuinely excited about it, although I do wish I didn’t have quite as long a break between now and October before starting up again.

Still, I’m not going to complain. I have the summer to write and spend time with my son. I’m fortunate to have a varied life, and I’ll always appreciate that.

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