Today should have been the start of eight lovely, long, carefree weeks, the first full day of the school summer holidays. On the list of special days to be looked forward to every year in our house, this would normally be right up there at the top of our list, alongside birthdays and Christmas.
We should all have been luxuriating in a much-longed-for long lie-in, and enjoying the novelty of not needing to set an early alarm. Today should have been our first Saturday free from the multitude of music, sports or drama club sessions my three children attend during term time but instead, given current circumstances, we'll be having yet another quiet Saturday, meandering at home.
It'll be a day not really distinguishable in any way from any other.
My heart goes out to all the pupils missing out on another fun moment and that feeling of freedom that the end of a school year brings. And if I'm honest, I feel sorry for us parents, too. It was only when I became a parent that I realised that feeling of freedom, the release from the tyranny of the timetable, wasn't just something that school children experienced.
I was not the most dedicated of pupils when I was at school. I worked reasonably hard at the subjects I enjoyed and did just enough to get by in the subjects I didn't. I was always happy to find an excuse to take a day away from school, on the flimsiest of pretexts. But the one time I didn't, the one time that hell or high water wouldn't have kept me away, was that last week of school. There was always a summer holiday camp vibe for the final five days of any school year. No work would be done in class and no homework set. Well, almost none.
There was always that one teacher who was determined to sicken my happiness, as I saw it then. Nowadays, as a parent, I'd appreciate their dedication to my child, right up until the final day of term.
If the weather was good, we'd be allowed not only to get away without doing any work, but also to have our classes outside, on the grass, in the sunshine, creating endless daisy chains and making wild plans for the extravagant, outrageous exploits we'd get up to over the holidays, knowing fine rightly that there would be no way our parents would allow us to get involved in any such shenanigans. On that final Friday, always a half day, we'd sit impatiently through the morning assembly, then fizz out into the corridors, shouting and singing, writing and drawing farewell messages for each other on our school shirts, never once thinking or caring about the rollicking we'd get from our mums about destroying our clothes.
Then we'd swarm down the town, in clumps of 10 or more, buzzing around the shops, taking up three tables in a cafe and ordering just three cans of cola and half a dozen straws, before finally, reluctantly, saying goodbye to each other as the time came to catch buses home and go our individual ways.
We'd hug and cry and be melodramatic about missing each other, ignoring the fact we'd probably meet up in a few days. It's the kind of behaviour echoed in certain circumstances in adulthood, like when you've had a few too many glasses of something bubbly at a family wedding and you're being dragged off the dance floor to head home.
Many years may have gone by since I was last in my school uniform but I know from my two teenagers the celebrations haven't changed much.
Which is why it has pained me this week to hear my two talk in wistful tones about how great the end of the summer term was last year and how, just 12 short months later, what should have been an unforgettable time has just become another day to be marked off the calendar.
It really brought home to me how much our children are missing out, not just on their education but the fun that goes hand-in-hand with learning.
Here's to what will hopefully be a lovely summer holiday for all and, in eight weeks' time, a much-longed-for return to school life.