The biggest challenge of divorce? The kids’ school clothes are always at the wrong house

The biggest challenge of divorce? The kids’ school clothes are always at the wrong house

The Guardian

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We have eight ties to prevent last-minute scrambles. But the return after Easter still led to a game of ‘hunt the shoes’ – and reminded me of the school play incident

The worst thing about being divorced when you have kids is that something is always in the wrong house. You only ever realise it five seconds before you need it, and it never ends. Maybe it’s the only pen with the right nib for the homework, and no, obviously that other pen with the identical nib won’t do because it’s the wrong colour. Or perhaps it’s a charger, without which no electricity can be connected to any device, or a hair clip in the shape of a snake that makes sense of the entire outfit. Once, it was a piece of paper with instructions on it for a project, which, it turned out, simply read: “Draw a diagram of the life-cycle of a plastic bag,” but only after every adult in the postcode had turned themselves inside out looking for it. It is always something tiny, that could be anywhere, unless it’s something huge, and you’re howling round the house, going: “How can anyone lose a saxophone?”

It is never about the huge or tiny thing, it’s only about the emotions. All the rage, frustration and sadness a kid might feel – this huge thing just happened, and life is now different and worse, and they weren’t consulted, and what idiotic thing might a parent decide to do next? – they never seem to say out loud. Instead, they will lose the lid to their sparkly nail varnish, and cry for so long that the next thing you know, you’re going through your ex’s recycling at midnight. The very worst time, which liquifies me with guilt just writing it down, was a lost script for a school play five years ago, resulting in the now-11-year-old being kicked out of the Three Little Pigs. The school was very rigid on this point: it would rather go out on stage with two pigs than suffer a performer who couldn’t keep hold of her material.

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