The ceremony was nice. There was the band, the National Anthem, lots of bowing.
As we were just there in that exact same spot a year ago watching Sunshine graduate, these kids looked so small, so young and fresh and innocent.
There’s so much they don’t know yet. So much to learn.
In time the girls will learn that they can roll their skirts up so they are above the knee.
They’ll learn to answer the teachers’ questions with just enough attitude to show derision but not enough to get them sent out of the room. They’ll learn to bow in a way that says, ‘I’ll do it if I have to but this all bullshit.’
I was a smidgey bit teary when they all came in but that might just have been a bit of emotional hangover from reading ‘The Middle Place’.
I was thinking though, what a crap shoot is all is.
As they all paraded before us I saw kids walking in, smiling all around, heads high, world by the balls.They might as well have been carrying a placard reading, ‘bring it on, I am ready for this and more,.
Kids who weren’t sure if smiling was okay, doing a half smile- floor glance-head up-back to half smile routine.
Kids who look 16 going on 30, kids who look 7 going on 8.
Kids walking tall with a sort of secret smile, like they knew they were bigger than the moment.
Then the kids who looked like they wanted to crawl into a hole, that walking past 400 spectators including their family was an absolute living nightmare.
In just 3 years they’ll all be, for better or for worse, so changed.
In that moment I wish for them all good things.
So, ceremony wise, it went well. They’re in, another 3 years of compulsory education at the government’s expense,
( via our tax of course!) hopefully keeping them off the streets and out of mischief.
I will though, take a moment here to complain. There is always a frickin talker. There is always someone who insists on nattering away through all the speeches. Granted, the speeches ( in my humble opinion) are not that interesting. I would not be at all surprised to learn that there is a central holding centre for speeches and every year each school just receives random speeches from this centre, simply marked ” Graduation” or ‘Entrance”, but can these people not just shut the Hell up for an hour and quietly observe this milestone in their child’s life.
Yak yak yak yak yak!
Then along came karma. Can’t mess with it, gotta love karma.
After the freshfaced inmates were whisked off to their respective classrooms, we were instructed to sit right where we were and the PTA/Yakkuin active recruitment phase began. Several people told us all of the joy of PTA service, how may new friends they had made, what fun the ‘activities’ were to perform, what sorrow they felt at not being able to serve another year. No one was buying it. Then a woman in a blue kimono jumped up and we all breathed a mini sigh of relief, one down, two to go.
There was an uncomfortable silence for a while then they sent around the piece of paper for everyone to write their name on, to do a convoluted names out of a hat method.
The Man, took THIS moment to say to me, that if I had to do it he and Sunshine would help me. So I took THAT moment to explain to him gently, that if he felt someone from our house had some kind of responsibility to step up to the plate here, then he should do it his damn self. That stopped all talk of volunteering.
So when the woman came with the piece of paper for me to write my name on, I asked her to write it for me, hopefully planting a seed of my own incompetence, really, what good is someone who can’t write their own name.
We waited about 25 minutes, the names were drawn, ours was not, Mrs Yak Yak Yak’s was and we all breathed out
Now awful as all that was, it gets worse. Remember that this is all on a * volunteer* basis. So they can use these gnarly public methods to get your name out in what appears to be a fair process ( even though we were sort held captive in the gym), now the 3 people whose names came out, ( for each class, so 15 people total), are quite within their rights to refuse. It can be difficult to get time off work, some women don’t get paid for time off, their are single mothers, people who care for elderly relatives etc , a myriad of different reasons why one cannot add more work and responsibility to the week for a totally unnecessary cause.
So the three chosen ones, try to plead their case, the veterans, the women who did it last year, knock back their pleas like tequila shots, insisting that it really isn’t too hard/too much/ too time consuming etc.
So if someone, as I would have to, outright refuses and has the strength to stand their ground in front of all the other parents, another name will be drawn. So the next person who has to do it ( and everyone else there) knows ,they have to do it because Mrs So and So refused, making Mrs So and So a total pariah.
Mmm, and zero tolerance for bullying in school?