Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Off to school! Zips zipped, lunches packed and buttons pressed...

Feb ’76. I trot off to Lake Grace Primary School in rural Western Australia with a tiny orange suitcase and a library bag. Many years later, I’m bracing to do the same with my own kidlets. Remember, if this school bizzo’s raising your blood pressure, simply recite, “When ‘ing’ comes to stay, ‘e’ goes away”. It won’t help with bullies, but it’s quite the calming mantra.

What did you think of your first day? More to the point, how did you cope when it was your very own children you were sending off with a packed lunch and name labels coming out every orifice?

The first day of the rest of their lives

On the eve of the morn of the too quick come dawn,
he took her outside and they sat on the lawn.
‘It’s this white burning terror. We’re making an error,
she pleaded, eyes wide with her lip all aquiver.

Can’t we say no and just not let him go,
blame the heat or your mother or tumults of…snow?
I just must be honest, it’s too quick upon us,
I’m bursting with fear and you’re looking quite anxious.’

He grimaced a bit and agreed, this was it,
for morning would come and they’d have to commit.
‘Ok, that’s enough now, unfurrow your tight brow,’
he rallied to calm her, although he knew not how.

‘But what if he’s sad or his handwriting’s bad
and the kids are all mean and pick on him, poor lad?
Or what if he’s short and can’t see as he ought
‘cause the desk is too big; did you give that a thought?

‘And what if his lunchbox is wrong and his school socks
too long and his school bag too small so he doesn’t belong?
And what if his uniform rips when my little boy trips
and the children all laugh and he spills all his chips?

And what if his pencils all break or his teacher’s a fake
and she can’t teach apostrophes? My heart will break!
And what if his hat blows away? And it’s NO HAT, NO PLAY!
And he’s stuck by himself in the classroom all day?

‘And…what if he wets his pants?’

‘And then there is high school and what if he’s uncool
or worse still, quite popular making the girls drool?
And then he starts wagging or going on bragging,
under the weight of a school bag that’s sagging?

'And then there’s the ball, oh my goodness, my Lord.
It’s way, way too soon and how can we afford
the tux and the shoes and the limo they choose
and what if he’s drunk and passed out in the loos?

‘And…what if he wets his pants?!’

‘Calm down my dove, please settle, my love.
Aren’t you jumping the gun? For when push comes to shove,
you’re turning the screw in a right royal stew
when the fact is right now you’re twelve days overdue

and you have to give BIRTH first!’

‘Oh right, you’re correct, but what I suspect
is my waters are breaking and to be quite direct…

I think I’ve just wet my pants!!’

PS. Yes, that picture's me. No, I'm not pregnant. Done it twice. That's enough for me!

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