WORDS: Rebecca Morse
There’s something special about primary school. From the first day of Reception, when you drop them off in tears and their backpacks are bigger than they are. Then you’re in the classroom helping them with their readers and making sure the teacher knows your name and you accumulate brownie points for the days when you forget to pack their lunch/return an excursion form/what time school starts and finishes etc. And there will be many of those days from R-6.
The primary school era is also when you lock in your parent friends. And it’s a jungle out there in the pick-up/drop-off zone. On the youngest’s first day I was dressed in activewear (isn’t that drop-off uniform?!) and another Mum looked me up and down and said “I was going to wear activewear but I thought since it was their first day I should make an effort.”
I like to enter the class group chat and find the parents asking all the questions like “is it Harmony Day today, I can’t seem to find the Seesaw notice.” These are my people. The Hot Mess Parents.
Then there are the parents who have wine in a thermos at Christmas Carols and extra room on their picnic rug. These are my people. The Let’s Drink Our Way Through the Nativity Scene and Pick up our Cars in the Morning Parents.
Although I will say that it’s useful to have at least one Organised Parent in your circle. The one who texts you to let you know Kmart has yellow t-shirts on sale ahead of Sports Day. And also that you need a yellow t-shirt for Sports Day. But, the catch is, you need to make sure this person is not a Judgy Parent who will tell other parents that you didn’t know you needed a yellow t-shirt for Sports Day. The Non-Judgy Organised Parents are the unicorns of primary school.
Then, in the time it’s taken to find your tribe, the kids hit high school. High school is different.
The little cherubs don’t want to be walked in. Or to be seen within a Covid-safe distance of you. They want drop-off and pick-up to be as anonymous as possible. Like they’re Blair Waldorf and I’m their driver.
And there are too many variables to keep across in high school. Who do they have for English? What are their electives? Who are they sitting with at recess and lunch? What are their hopes and dreams? Will there be wine and snacks at P&F events?
I’m thinking about my own high school days more than usual at the moment. As it is time for MY THIRTY YEAR REUNION. THIRTY YEARS.
I only feel thirty. In fact, some days I still feel like an approval-seeking high school student.
I’m apprehensive. No matter how many years have passed, and what you have achieved there’s something about seeing your old schoolmates that makes you regress to the quadrangle.
I didn’t love school. My dress was always a bit long and I didn’t have the right shoes. I had long brown curly hair and when I decided to cut a fringe, the curls just gathered in one big mass in the middle of my forehead which was not the Jennie Garth circa 1990 look I was going for.
So what is the purpose of a school reunion? Especially after so long.
Is it to reconnect? To reminisce about the best and worst teachers or what happened on the ski trip? Is it to tell someone THEY HAVEN’T CHANGED A BIT although you both know you have changed a lot, both inside and out. Is it to say we must catch up more often, when you know that another 10 years will pass you by?
The school friends I have kept in touch with over the past three decades are weighing up whether to turn up. Life is busy, life moves on.
But I think I’ll go. There is still so much to unpack from the Year 10 ski trip. And there will be drinks and snacks.
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