Fitting in with MS
Our youngest son started his senior school a few weeks ago, the same grammar school as our eldest son attends, the same school (many moons ago) that we used to attend.
It was always a prestigious school, but never more so than now with its many specialisms and manor-house boarding facilities for the children whose parents work or live away.
Our eldest son has never really wanted us to be involved other than dropping off and picking him up, which we fully respected, but now Junior is there – and he wants it! The PTA meetings, the ‘meet and greet’ sessions, the informal ‘drinks’ in the posh sixth form centre.
We used to have a sixth form block filled with moth eaten armchairs and a kettle coated in limescale, they now have a bistro complete with pool table and leather sofas ... and a flight of stairs to which the alterative disabled access is a walk around the outside of the school and around the playground.
I feel excluded enough as we pull up in our '60 plate Ford Mondeo which fits snugly between everyone else’s shiny, brand new black SUVs (yes, they are all black, mostly with personalised number plates and tinted windows).
Then I get out of the car and I feel more out of place next to the size 8, beautifully dressed, perfectly groomed set of mothers; complete with expensive highlights and designer bags, and fall (hopefully only ever metaphorically) at the first stumbling block – those three stone steps up from the car park. Try as I might I cannot do those gracefully!
There is a disabled ramp, but it then means another fifty-or-so metres to walk, and at this point; enough is quite literally - ENOUGH!
Basically, I just want to fit in. I just want to be able to walk up, or down those stairs and not have to ask for the disabled entrance, or be the one who stumbles in, puffing and panting, the colour of a matadors cloak and ten minutes late because I had to drag myself round the perimeter of the school to gain access that doesn’t involve me tripping down the second flight of stairs, and knowing my luck – ending up sprawled out across the fancy new pool table!
But, as we do for our children, more than likely I will still try. And I will be holding my non designer handbag proudly aloft!