Tuesday 23rd July
The summer holidays have begun! Thank the Lord! There are two reasons that I am thankful, the first being that I am lucky enough to have the majority of the summer holidays off work and the second is that it means that Youngest Child is finished with Junior School, FOREVER!
It has been a tough year for her, her friendships have been up and down, she has been bullied, threatened and spoken to in an obscene manner that has broken my heart. Never did I think kids could be cruel enough to tell a ten-year-old girl to kill herself, rape her mother and call her a paedophile. I have been shocked, disgusted and completely outraged. On top of that she has had unkind comments posted on social media about her and had a group of kids waiting for her in the playground, threatening to beat her up.
I am not sure what provoked them to treat her this way, I can’t even blame the bitchiness that comes with girls growing up as it was both boys and girls who were involved. I appreciate that she is outspoken and will never back down from what she thinks is right and can be bossy and argumentative, but the things that were said to her were things that I am particularly sensitive about and it devastated me. To have your little girl have words like paedophile and rape said to her, when these are the things you desperately want to protect her from, especially when you have some personal experience of such situations, is incredibly upsetting and are words your child should not have to be subjected to within a school environment. No matter how well (or not) it was dealt with by the school (and I have mixed feelings), it left me counting down the days until the end of term when she would leave. This in itself should have been a very emotional time, as it was for other parents, especially as this was my third and final child to leave the school but my life as a primary school parent was ending on a sour note, with me looking forward to seeing the back of it.
Before we could put it all behind us, however, there were several leaving events to get through. The first was the leavers production, which meant that Youngest Child had to be at school over the course of two evenings. It all worked out quite well as Middle Child was playing a cricket match down the road from school, on the first evening, so I dropped Youngest Child off at school and then went to watch some of the match. My two cricket friends Sarah and Jenny were there (I could not manage all the long-distance cricket runs without them helping me out) so we had a lovely catch up, as for some reason we hadn’t seen as much of each other this season.
The second evening of the production, Myself, The Husband and Middle Child all went to watch. It was a fantastic show, with lots of great performances from the kids (although it did gall me to have to watch the boy of the paedophile comment in a main role), though typically Youngest Child didn’t have a part and was in the choir, sitting at the other end of the hall from us so we could barely see her.
The next event was sports day. I was particularly proud of myself this year as I already had a t-shirt in her house colour ready for her to wear, so avoiding the last-minute Amazon order, and before we left the house, I even remembered to put sun cream on her. Just as I was about to spray her arm the top fell off the bottle. I bent down to retrieve it, put it back on the bottle and then for some reason I decided to spray her arm while still bent over double. Unfortunately, I had put the top on the wrong way around and the nozzle was now directed at my face. As I sprayed, I saw the lotion come out of the nozzle but I wasn’t quick enough to close my eyes and so the lotion hit me right in both eyes. OMG! I dropped the bottle and put my hands to my eyes and proceeded to run around in circles, while still bent double, screaming “Oh my God!”
Middle and Youngest Child weren’t quite sure what I was doing and gave a half laugh before asking if I was alright. “Nooooo!” I wailed, “get me a flannel!”
Middle Child ran up the stairs to get a flannel, while I ran into the downstairs toilet. After soaking the flannel in cold water and squeezing it into my eyes, I was finally able to open them. I looked into the mirror and was greeted by what looked like a panda with conjunctivitis! I had an inch-thick mascara stain under each eye, which were both bright red.
“Will you go blind?” Middle Child enquired.
“I fucking hope not!” I exclaimed.
Needless to say, we were all late for school that day. FML!
Prom night arrived and I had arranged to get Youngest Child ready at Gorgeous’ house with Bo and then we were all going to the local Italian for dinner.
I have to say Youngest Child did look beautiful. She was wearing a little black dress, which was grown up without being too old for her, black strappy sandals with a small heel, complemented with sparkly earrings, hair clips and a matching bracelet. I managed to get her ready with only a small meltdown, over the false nails she insisted on sticking on, where she put her head on the table and sobbed, saying she didn’t want to go. I had allowed her to put on some of my mascara and when she lifted her head up, she looked very similar to how I had after the sun cream incident. I was about to have a meltdown of my own, as we had ten minutes to get to the restaurant, but Gorgeous came to the rescue with her baby wipes. In the car on the way to the Italian I felt very proud of her and how she had managed to get to the end of a tough year without losing her sense of herself. I turned to her and told her she looked beautiful. “I know I do!” she declared.
On arrival at the prom she had another little wobble where she got worried that everyone was going to make fun of her and be mean to her. “No, they won’t,” I reassured her. Fortunately, Gorgeous was staying at the prom so would be there to keep an eye on things.
Once Best Friend From School arrived (the one that didn’t come out on the birthday trip because she was never speaking to her again), she was fine and after a few photos, in she went.
I went to the pub with another school mum, who had also had three children through the school in the same year groups as my three. We had known each other thirteen years and after this week would probably never see each other again. While there are always good intentions to keep in touch with people, without the kids in each other’s lives, it tends not to happen. I do have some good friends from Eldest and Middle Child’s primary school days, but we don’t see each other as often as we would like now that the kids are all at different secondary schools and have new friends. It’s the end of an era, not just for Youngest Child, but for me too and in a way, it is very sad that the events of this year have meant I don’t feel emotional about it. But then maybe it is a good thing as I would likely have been an emotional wreck.
When I arrived back at the school to collect Youngest Child all the kids were in a state, with lots of hugs and tears. Youngest Child was heartbroken and cried all the way home, declaring that she had been at the school for seven years of her life and it was a big thing to be leaving. It also seems that there had been lots of apologies amongst the girls for the way they had treated each other. Yes, it was a nice thing to do and I was pleased she could take those apologies away with her, but for me, it was too little too late.
You would think that would be the end, but no, we still had the leaver’s assembly and the picnic to get through. Now if you might remember I’d had a breakdown at work about the leaver’s assembly, thinking I wouldn’t be able to attend, but my lovely colleagues had sorted it all out and I had been covered for the whole morning.
Usually the leaver’s assembly is very emotional but this was the first one that I didn’t cry at, well I started to feel a lump in my throat when they played a slide show of photos accompanied by that song that plays during Paul Walker’s final scene in Fast and Furious 7, but it was more to do with the song than anything else. The lump soon disappeared though when I realised that Youngest Child wasn’t in any of the photos and the feeling of ‘can’t wait to be rid of this place’ returned.
The end of the assembly culminated in parents taking photos of the children in their leaver’s t-shirts, before they were allowed to go off and get them signed by their friends. I did feel sad (and slightly pissed off) when I saw large groups of children gathering for photos together, while Youngest Child and Best Friend From School posed just the two of them. Despite the fact that they have had their ups and downs and have often fallen out over the years, I was really pleased that at the very end the two of them were together. It would have been awful if Best Friend From School had been with the group of girls and Youngest Child was on her own on the last day.
Speaking of the group of girls, it seems that all thirteen of them from Youngest Child’s class (apart from her and Best Friend From School) had a limo arranged to drive them around and then take them to the picnic after school that afternoon. I’m not particularly bothered about limos and certainly would not have arranged one, but it is astounding that parents will arrange these things and include all but two girls from the same class. The real shocker though is that one of the parents kept sending me photos of the girls in the limo until I messaged her and told her as my child hadn’t been included, I didn’t need to be sent photos.
Fortunately, a colleague at work, Mrs O, had realised that there were going to be few limos on the last day and so had organised one and invited all the children who hadn’t been included elsewhere, to accompany her son. It really was a group of misfits, bless them, Youngest Child and Best Friend From School being the only girls. I will be eternally grateful, however to Mrs O for giving Youngest Child a lovely end to her final day at school. She met the kids after school, accompanied them in the limo, which drove them around for an hour while they drank pretend wine and played loud music, before taking them to the picnic, where Mrs O kept an eye on them until I was able to leave work.
What did sadden me though is that when I got to the picnic, Mrs O was sitting on her own, while all the other parents were sitting in various friendship groups. Even the parents whose children had been included in Mrs O’s limo had snubbed her to sit with other groups. It made me realise it’s not just the kids that have their cliques and can make people feel left out, but parents on the playground can be equally as bad.
Shortly after, another colleague, whose son had also been in the limo, arrived from work and the three of us sat together and chatted while the kids played. Best Friend From School’s mum turned up to take her home quite early, as they were getting ready to go on holiday. Best Friend looked sad to be leaving and it left me with a funny feeling, I wasn’t exactly emotional, these two girls have constantly drove us up the wall by being best friends one minute then never speaking to each other the next, but they have known each other a long time and while I am glad that Youngest Child is getting a completely fresh start, there was something sad about seeing them say goodbye to each other. So it was that I found myself saying that we would stay in touch and Best Friend could come over when she got back off her holiday, with the hope that once they are away from the influence of the other girls at school, they will be nicer to each other and form a healthier friendship.
In other news the wedding has been postponed as the visa still hasn’t been sorted and so they cannot be issued with a marriage licence and the girls lost the cricket quarter finals which means we won’t have to go up North for the finals. So suddenly the summer holidays are looking long and relaxing and in preparation for them I decided to spring clean the house, which, due to the fact I had barely been at home over the last two weeks because of leaver’s events and working at weekends, the house was a shit hole. I spent about four hours cleaning out cupboards in the kitchen and an hour and a half on the bathroom. I was glad I had got it done and out of the way ready for the holidays to begin, as the temperature this first week has hit 33 degrees and is forecast to reach 38 degrees in the next couple of days. So, other than taking the girls swimming this afternoon, I have spent the first day of the holidays relaxing in the garden with a book.
Oh, and we have a new Prime Minister! Boris Johnson is promising to energise the country and deliver Brexit! Looks like it is going to be a good summer.