Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

20 July 2018

Boy11's Last Drop Off...

I'm feeling nostalgic.
There's a lot going on at the moment.
Lots of things ending, lots of things we are now doing for the last time.
People to say goodbye to, and buildings we are never gonna visit again...

Boy11: 'What we doing here Dad?'
This place, 'Burger Off', is shutting down and I wanted to get a last burger...
or two... <Does shifty eyes>
BurgerOffDude: 'What'll it be lads?'
Eighteen burgers with all the trimming please!
Boy11: 'Or two?' <Gives me a look>
Oh shush...
[We wait whilst they cook]
Boy11: 'So why are you shutting down?'
BurgerOffDude: 'What? We're not shutting down! We'll be here forever!'
Boy11: <Gives me a look of surprise>
Oh don't look so surprised...
<Takes burgers and runs>
<Is found in burger comma, it's not a pretty sight>

(... Yes that’ll do for the boy…
Now have you got anything big?)

All of them.
All three terrors are leaving their respective nursery, junior school and primary schools.
All on the same day. That is some hardcore crappy crap planning from Team Parents (yay!).
Take my advice. If and when you have children, if you can find them, hire the A-Team! Try to avoid having a three year split between them all.
It's pretty intense.

The main tale here is Boy11 is finishing primary school.
Six years he has been there. It was our first school as parents.
There's been plenty of ups and downs, good and bad. Loads of cool stuff. Some crappy crap stuff too.
But as I picked Boy11 up from his Year 7 disco last night. I realised that this was probably going to be the last time I would be on school grounds. Legally.
I did feel a little sad. I know the building well, I can get lost trying to get to any of the classroom in that building in a heartbeat. They have the greatest booze raffle stand I’ve ever seen. £5 in and you walk off with at least three bottles. They had a skateboard club!
All his first field trips happened there. A lot has happened.
<Pinches own leg in attempt not to cry>
<Ends up crying over pinched leg>

Boy11 has already got his leavers jumper.
The school did try and keep them until the end of term and away from the children because of the heat (the UK is actually hot at the moment). But then the school clearly caved as they rapidly changed their minds and they just handed them out.
If you don't know what a leavers jumper is it's like a replacement for getting all your mates to sign your shirt or blouse (I wore both).
Now instead they get a lovely hoodie with all their classes nicknames on, and a huge 18 for the leaving year. It's cool.
Boy11 loves the hoodie and wears almost constantly. He loves the new jumper smell on it.
Team Parent (yay!) have told him that if he wants to keep that smell, he has to avoid sleeping in it, leaving it on the floor in the mess of his bedroom, using it as a brakes when he sliding about, and just general don't mush it up. If you love it.
Good general advice for life I feel.

([At soft play]
ChargerPerson: ‘And how old is this boy? If he’s 11 that’s twice the price?’
No no, he’s definitely 10…
ChargerPerson: <Points at the jumper>
Oh that? We just love the number 18 in our house… Great number…
ChargerPerson: <Is suspicious>

It's going to be hard on Boy11.
Not everyone at his school is going onto the same secondary school as him. Most. But not all. And he's old enough to know what that means. What will happen. That he will probably never see some of them again. Or at least not for many years.
The mate he spent most of the disco with, having great fun with, is one of them.
I asked him in the car on the way back from the disco about it. And as he said that mate wasn't going to be at his school. I saw a quick flash in his eyes of regret and sadness, and a bit of anger at the world for taking his mate away.
I tried to explain why it was happening, but failed. Because really it's a bit daft. It’s just adult reasons. Nothing Boy11 will care about.
Instead I just watched him handle his emotions pretty darn well.

I feel the same when someone escapes leaves work.
They are just gone. The main reason that you saw each other has gone. The building you both visit daily. Has become two buildings, and they are not the same.
Sure you can try and keep in touch. But my horribly large age and oldyness tells me the chances of that happening is very low. And rarely happens.
<Wipes nose>

If I ask Boy11 how he feels about saying goodbye.
To the school, to the teachers, to some friends. He is quite sad about it.
Some teachers have made a mark on him. And he will miss them.
They have inspired him. Picked him up when he was down. Taxed him. Tested him. Been fun to be around.
But their days are numbered. The circles of life that they inhabit will soon change to the next lot. But such is the lot of teachers.
Always watching their charges moving on, saying goodbye.

Boy11 has already had his taster day.
For his new school. Annoyingly it was on the exact same day as Miss7's. Which gave Team Parent (yay!) a logistical issue.
i.e. how to be in two places at once. So we divided and conquered. BabyBoy4 was dropped off at nursery. I took Miss7 to her new school and Mrs. Amazing took Boy11 in, catching up with us later.
Mrs. Amazing said as she dropped him off at his new HUGE school with billions of kids in it, some sixteen, already with mortgages and premium bonds and stuff. Boy11 looked a little worried and unsure. Until he saw a friend.
Apparently the relief on his face was clearly visible. And then he was gone until 3pm.
He even walked home on his own.

The fact he can walk to and fro to school on his own.
Is brilliant! We love it! It is going to make the morning run so much easier. Oh sure we've still got two other monkeys to get to school and stuff. But not having to drive across town to drop Boy11 off is going make things so much simpler.
I know, I know. There will be new things coming. After school clubs, events, things we gotta attend still.
But not having to drive him about every mornings and afternoon AT THE EXACT SAME TIME as one of us needs to be getting Miss7. Well that's gonna be pretty sweet.

Of course I will miss it too.
Dropping Boy11 off at school was really good fun. It was nice to see his mates. And see his teachers.
It was ten minutes in the car where we could talk. Or more likely rock out to banging tunes on the radio. I also really enjoyed hanging about in the playground meeting the Mums and Dads doing the same. I've made loads of friends that way and enemies.
But that will now stop for Boy11. Sure I can still pounce of strangers meet new people when dropping off Miss7 and BabyBoy4. But for Boy11 that boat has sailed. The gates are shut. The football practice is over. The tokens have run out. Player 1 has no credits left.
<Weeps and goes off to play on computer>
Secondary school parents rarely set foot on school grounds.
It's true.

Boy11 has been getting me ready for this though.
Not on purpose obv. just in his natural getting older ways.
Somedays the morning drop off stopped being me getting out of the car and walking in with him. To me just letting him out of the door. And then me pulling faces at him as I drive off. Some things have to be done.
Then Boy11 was by my side cycling into school. Which we did four times, before a mate was added to the journey. And that happened once, and then I wasn't needed.
<But is secretly happy to be avoiding that huge amount of exercise>
Then suddenly Boy11 was scooting in on his own. Boy11's need for me or Mrs. Amazing to get him places, is dropping away very very very quickly.
He's now suggesting I don't need to get out of the car when I drop him off places.
A part of me could just weep. I am becoming a taxi service.

And secondary school is just going to make that worse.
The amount of times Team Parent (yay!) will be at the school will be dramatically less.
We just won't be needed so much. Well I hope not. I hope he behaves and we don't need to be visiting every other day.
<Shakes fist>
Boy11: <Is watching tele> 'WOT?'
Boy11: <Shakes fist back>

This morning was the last drop off.
Oh my heart. We chatted in the car and listened to 'All Right Now' by ‘Free’ as loudly as possible, both enjoying the awesome guitars and bass solo.
As we got closer to school Boy11 asked if I could pull over some five minutes away. So he could scoot in the rest.
It's way cooler to scoot in. I hear him. Rather than have his Dad hug him goodbye outside the school gates. Plus scooting in on your own steam is way cooler.
I agreed and was strong and was waving him goodbye when he stopped.
And said...

Boy11: 'This is the last drop off I've got with you isn't it Dad?'
Yep <Is holding back tears>
Boy11: <Smiles at me>
Have a good day! <Reining, reining them in>
Boy11: 'Love you Dad' <Scoots off>
<Has a moment to self in car and removes all the random dust and debris that had clearly instantly flown in my eye and was making my eyes water>