Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My How they've Grown!

The eleven year old, the scary one, the one who likes My Chemical Romance and other EMO ish things and who can out argue me without breaking into the mildest of sweats had her first day at secondary school the other day.

I'll tell you about it, read into it what you will, but it's a bit about my life.

I was asked to drop her for various reasons and I duly obliged. I rolled up at their place at the designated time and found her and her elder sister pretending to get ready. The eldest, although at the same school, didn't start until later so was going to make her own way in with a friend. We had to be at the school by 8.30 so had to leave by around 8.15.

In all her life I've never seen her looking as smart and presentable as she did. She's one of these kids who has a propensity to scruffiness and dirt. Shoes on her get scuffed, clothes get dirty and hair gets messed up and ruffled, all in less time than it takes for one of those East European windscreen washer women to draw a washing up liquid heart on a windscreen and then smile at you through the gap in their teeth.

Her smartness was something I knew would be short lived, but it was a big and new experience. The shoes were gleaming, the hair was neat and tidy and the clothes were ironed and clean. She's one of those eleven year olds with absolute confidence, with ne'er the slightest hint of nerves or ansgt about her person, and this first day at secondary school was just another thing to take in her stride. If it had been me or her sister we would have been ready around four months beforehand, we would have left about three months before we needed to and our nerves would have been torn to shreds, if that's what happens to nerves.

I had to put up with some shouting and arguing as I attempted to persuade her that it was time to leave, but we finally managed it and set off in the car, with that "Teenagers scare the living shit out of me" song blaring out as had been requested by the child thing. It seemed appropriate.

As we drove near to the school she spotted a good friend, E, strolling along with her Mum. There was some frantic waving and shouting and we continued towards the school, parked up and got out of the car.

"Just leave me here Dad, I'll be fine" she kind of teenagerley whined at me, with that tone that makes you think girls' voices can break too.

"No, it's ok I'll take you across the road and make sure you're all sorted" I replied.

"I'll be fine"

"But I'd like to" I fired back, with as much force as I dared.

"Ok" she retorted. It amazes me how a person can get across so much attitude in just two letters, but she managed it.

We got out and looked in all those directions that are required prior to crossing a road. You Sri Lankans may be lost at this point, but here in England it's common practice for pedestrians to look before they walk across a busy road. Honestly, it's true. I asked her to hold my hand, a bold and stupid move.

"It's ok Dad, I'm eleven."

"I know you are but hold my hand"

"I don't have to, I know how to cross a road"

I let her do it, this letting go of kids thing can be hard sometimes but it's also got to be done. When we got to the other side we saw E, her friend, strolling along the pavement with no sign of her Mother. Clearly she had told the Mother to make herself scarce and was happy about it. They grinned, greeted each other and then my youngest turned to me with those warm words.

"Bye Dad"

"Ah right, bye then" I said, with an air of nonchalence. I leant down to give her a kiss, she pretended not to see, but I managed to sneak one before I could shatter all her credibility. Then I left her to talk with E, they reminded me of Rizzo's gang of girls in "Grease". I jumped in my car, pulled out and drove off. As I went past the school gate the two of them were there, just standing and talking and laughing. Had I not known I would never have guessed it was their first day at the school.

Off I went to work, feeling a tad sad but mostly happy. Sad that she'll be sixteen when she leaves the school, unless she gets expelled for something unsurprising, but happy that she'll always be my daughter, no matter what.

1 comment:

Indyana said...

Yes,they will be yours forever!

My kids tried to convince me that I needn't go with them on their first day, however(after much discussion), I went along!Left quickly though, before they told me to go themselves!