But then there’s always that Insect Day, that the schools like to spring on us, just when we thought that – finally – the holidays were over. (I imagine the teachers transformed into bugs and grasshoppers, sitting round some ring-binders). Wait, they’re saying, you can’t just give us the children. So The Youngest and I spent one last day together. We went for a bike ride. (Determined to cycle the first day, she wanted to rehearse). We bought new trainers, water bottle, lunch box. We cooked, and I enjoyed her childish genius for asking the sort of sunny questions that you’d want to answer – “What was your favourite Mr Man?” “What things did you like to cook, when you were a boy?” “You know there are Guide Dogs… Do they have Guide Cats? (Or even Guide Ducks!)” And then this morning, we did do that bike ride, (setting off proudly in helmets and hi-viz). We cheered as we whooshed down the hill. We made festive plans (“Let’s do this every day!”) And then suddenly we were at school, carefully taking out the new water bottle and lunchbox, and then, in a blink, she’d slipped into the school like a mouse going down a hole, and was lost to me. I kissed some old friends. I shook hands with a new dad, there for his first day. “Any tips?” he asked, and my mind sprang back, to the day, ten years ago, when I dropped off Eldest for her first day. (I remember tensing inside, as she went straight for the Dressing Up Box Wedding Dress, and asked me to help her put it on). “Gosh,” I told New Dad, “I suppose I’d say… it seems only two minutes since I was you.” Then, suddenly sobered, I retrieved the bike, and headed off through the fields. And as I did that the thought struck me: “What now?” I thought vaguely of my work plans, now buried under a summer of animals and trampolines , and it felt like a mourning, as the emptiness hit.