Farewell to primary school
It’s the end of the year as we know it, and another child is off to high school, how did that happen?
The 13-year-old gets into the car in a dizzy spin clutching a sort of net bag affair that seems to be spilling red glitter all over the place. This is it, folks, and the invite to the grade 7 farewell party.

Back in the day when I was at school and dinosaurs roamed the earth, when you got to Standard Five no-one threw any parties, apart from the teachers who were probably in the staffroom tossing back tequila. Actually I grew up in the Florida on the West Rand in the ‘70s so it was probably Klippies and Coke.

But now you get to go to the grade 7 farewell. It’s a big deal requiring new clothes if you go to my daughter’s school because they have to go in red, white, and black. So of course I moan and whinge because the budget doesn’t really stretch to it.

Oh, and by the way it won’t work that she wears her very high black shoes (good grief I’m sure we never wore high shoes until we were at least 18), because they are going to learn to dance so she’ll need new low ones. And, ta da the theme of the party is linked to Michael Jackson in some way. Enter crouching mother, growling mother.

I spend the rest of the trip home banging on about how expensive everything is. Why do we keep having to come up with more money for stuff? Why can’t she just wrap a sheet around herself? I do go on I really do, in fact sometimes I bore even myself.

Shopping for the farewell

Cut to the weekend before the event and we find a beautiful red tunic dress at a cheap chain store, ditto low black shoes and for white we go for a satin bow. Hannah and her sister Grace, 12, are hugely happy that I have not thrown a temper tantrum in the shop.

On the day, things are hectic at work. I rush off and fetch them from school because its exam time so they end early (that never happened when the dinosaurs roamed the earth either.) I’m still quite frankly being a bit of a bitch, I feel a little sad that the girls’ school doesn’t have the parents at the farewell. I went to my son’s farewell when he left prep school and it was a lovely emotional evening.

So, still a bit of a grumpy mother still lurking in the car amidst the clutter and the faint traces of glitter and it does occur to me that I have to stop raining on people’s parades – especially people I have shoved into the world.

Arriving at the house I go into the girls’ bedroom and there is the most beautiful girl in the world. She looks stunning and I want to hug her to bits, but then I might dislodge her hair, or smudge her lip gloss.

We arrive at the school and I don’t care that I am not going in. I watch as she joins a flutter of girls who all hug each other whenever they meet up even though they have only been apart for a few hours. And I think to myself, not such a bad thing to live in the post dinosaur era after all.

It all goes by so fast, from cradle to preschool to teen - and then I presume they leave at about 35 - so a little red glitter and glitz along the way seems a small price to pay.

What kind of occasion marked your children’s graduations from preschool, primary school or high school?

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