I figured I’d start the (potential) flurry of blogs with the main news item in our family. That is, this will be our last year running the boarding house. When we finish in July, we’ll have done a decade. That was what the original tenure was due to be, and there are a host of reasons for calling time at this stage. That’s not to say it’s been an easy decision, or that we think it will be an easy transition. Change rarely is easy.
When we arrived, we had one one-and-a-half year-old. We now have an eleven year-old and a six year-old. When we arrived, we were venturing into our thirties. We’re now heading into our forties (Anna beat me to it, obviously!). The last ten years have been pretty pacey. There have been some real highs, and, inevitably perhaps, some real lows. I’ve spent a decade trying to write a book (which might actually get published this year – more of that in another blog, perhaps).
The last week of last term reminded us just how precious this job is. Our domestic staff team put on an in-house ‘nativity’ (though there was some deviation from the traditional story, it must be said) that saw almost the entire house squeeze into one of the common rooms to watch and laugh. It was hilarious! We had the traditional carol sing-off on the penultimate night of term, where each year group is given a carol the day before the event, and have to perform it for the rest of the house. The birth scene that found its way into the Upper Sixth ‘carol’ is something I won’t forget for a long time – no matter how hard I try! And the same evening saw all the girls singing Happy Birthday to Joshua. He loved it (but, turning 11, he was doing a mighty fine job of playing it cool). The Heads of House did a speech that tied in beautifully with our Narnia theme for House Supper – testimony to the extraordinary efforts people go to in this house to do their best. The family we have here will be sorely missed. We’ve said goodbye to one year group every year for the last ten years. Saying goodbye to all five at once will be tough.
Having said that, the plan, at least at the moment, is to stay here in Repton, albeit in a different role. I’ve got my Bishops’ Advisory Panel in February (more of that in another blog) and the hope would be to study within easy travelling distance of the village we’ve come to know as home. The boys are settled in school, and we’d really like them to stay where they are for now.
These next two terms will be bittersweet. There will be plenty to treasure and hold on to, but much to let go of and hand over, too. I have a feeling that the memories of the coming months will be valuable souvenirs in the coming years. We’ll be entering a very different phase of life.
Those of you who pray, we’d value your prayers for the period. Pray that we leave well. Pray, too, that we listen to God’s guidance for the next phase of our lives, and follow His lead.