On Monday, I attended the Grade 11 Induction service at the daughter’s school. This is where the matrics hand over to the class below and there are solemn speeches about being a servant-leader (I do wish our political leaders had been there, they could’ve learnt a thing or two). My aha moment at this event was not about servant-leadership, it was about me and my oddness. Basically, I am weird and there’s not much I can do about it because it is genetic (here’s looking at you, Mom and Dad – I still remember the singing in the middle of the supermarket/swimming on a busy beach in your underwear incidents.)
Firstly, I wore a hat which possibly seemed like I was being a pretentious git, but was actually because I’ve had so much shit burnt off my skin by my dermatologist that I have just been one big scab for the last couple of months (that stuff takes an aeon to go away) and I thought we would be standing in the quad where there’s a lot of sun after the event and I was so busy trying to get a script in that I didn’t have time to put sunblock on and I didn’t want to get burned so I just grabbed a hat.
Yes, I could’ve taken it off in the hall, but once you’ve put a hat on, that’s it, you have to keep it on otherwise you have hat hair. And I would’ve had REALLY BAD hat hair because I put so much of that salt water spray stuff in my hair over the weekend to give me that “I just emerged from the ocean” vibe that my hair had sort of set into a beehive. Not pretty.
See how long that explanation is?
You can’t be walking up to the people giving you the strange looks and telling them all that. Also, we were not in the quad with a lot of sun, we were in fact standing under a large tree so I did look like a complete tit in my large flowery hat. Afterwards when I explained all of this to her, the daughter said – with a slightly bemused expression on her face – “Yes, I did wonder about the hat.”
It was the first time we were back at the school since this shitshow began, and I felt like a dog that had just been let off its leash at the park, a dog that has never been to Puppy Obedience Classes – bounding up to people trying to hug them, screaming “It’s okay, I’ve had it and I’m a double-vaxxed kween!” whilst they valiantly tried to sidestep me like Lukhanyo Am did with the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship last weekend. The problem is that I have forgotten how to behave in social situations, I am literally like that woman who’s been living with wolves for the last ten years and has emerged in need of a mani, pedi, a facial and some lessons in etiquette.
The next issue is the crying. As soon as the Grade 10s started singing their beautiful song whose name I have forgotten because I have Covidy-menopausal brain, I started to blub. Then my nose started running underneath my mask which was super attractive. Naturally, I had no tissues but was rescued by a good Samaritan whom we shall call Ann because that is her name, and I was spared having to blow my nose on my one of the many discarded masks in my handbag. Yes, I am sexy like that.
I was grateful to the headmistress who admitted that she also felt very emotional at this first event that parents could attend since the start of the pandemic. We started with a minute’s silence for a family who had just lost their dad in a terrible accident but who insisted that the ceremony went ahead anyway (my heart!) plus my daughter’s art was up in the hall – portraits of women and girls who have been killed in gender-based violence which did not help matters.
I felt the presence of the dead.
I know, I know…one should not go around telling everyone they see dead people but honestly, there was something about the occasion that just brought to the fore everything we have all endured over these last twenty months, all that has been lost including loved ones and I felt the weight of it.
One of the deputy head girls gave a fantastic speech about the class of 2022 being a year of firsts. It was witty and lovely, but my heart just went out to all these children and what they have missed out on. As I keep saying to my kids and I say this to all of you too: “Give yourselves a break, you have just lived through a pandemic FFS!!”
Afterwards, we stuffed our faces with the delicious brownies and choc chip cookies that the school is famous for, and I regret to say we stole a great many of them for the kids and when we had hoovered up all the confectionary, we took pictures. I had to apply a strong filter to the picture of me with the daughter because my face was so red and blotchy from all the blubbing. I showed the original to the son afterwards and he said, “Mom, it’s not THAT bad.” He was being kind, dear reader, it really was that bad.
As we were leaving, I got a pic of the daughter with the new head girl, they have been together at school since grade 0 and honestly, she is the loveliest person and you could not find a better example of a servant-leader. I asked where her parents were, she replied: “They had to go, but it’s fine…” she said, opening her arms wide to include all of us, “Because I have all my parents here.”
Reader, I lay on the floor and wept again.
TV recommendations: Britney Vs Spears on Netflix. Yikes! What this poor girl has endured at the hands of her beyond trashy family who are clearly out to make as much money as poss off her. Riveting stuff and the day after I watched it came the good news that Britney is now free!
Book recommendations: The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell. As the title suggests this is about a girl and her partner who disappear after going to a party at a posh country house. Is she dead? Is she alive? Was it the partner whodunnit? Lisa is an absolute QUEEN of domestic suspense and a very fine writer, I loved this one and completely gobbled it up.
In bookish news, I am thrilled to say that fave, Sue Nyathi’s book A Family Affair has been shortlisted for the prestigious UJ Lit Award and Refiloe Moahloli’s fab How Many Ways Can You Say Hello was the overall winner at the SA Book Awards AND the winner in the Children’s Literature category. HUGEST congrats to them both!
Back to me and my weirdness. The great thing about getting older is that you realise that everyone feels a bit weird and like they don’t fit in (they just hide it better) and it’s OKAY. Let’s all celebrate our weirdness and sing (and dance) in the middle of Woolies and swim in our undies. Happy reading! xxx