Katy Perry – The One That Got Away

This song has been in my head for a couple of weeks, probably because a couple of weeks ago I got chatting to an old school friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years.
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School Reunion

School Reunion
Some of my old high school friends are starting to plan a reunion. It’s (gulp) 20 years since we sat our GCSE exams, so seems an appropriate time I suppose.

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A Catastrophic Day

snow chaos
A number of random things combined on one day a couple of weeks ago to make it a bit of a catastrophe. Not by global standards; in fact by my own definition it’s more of a First World Problem, but it left me a little shaken and I thought I would share it with you.

I’d ordered a new phone on a contract and had arranged to transfer my number. I was on my way to work and the SIM card suddenly became invalid. Yes, they’d transferred my number already. It was a bit annoying as I was late to work because of the snow. I hate not being able to let anyone know.

During the morning it snowed heavily and around 13:40 I received an email saying the school was closing at 14:00 and I had to give my permission for the school to release my daughter early to get the bus home, otherwise she would be in school until the end of the school day, 15:35.

I tried to phone the school and my daughter several times but the school was constantly engaged and my daughters phone was turned off (as it should be in school).

I had to borrow my colleagues phone to text my daughter to give her my work number to call.

I then saw a Tweet from Konect buses saying all their services were cancelled due to bad road conditions. I was starting to panic now. It takes me an hour to get home in perfect conditions; took me 2 hours to get in to work that morning and now I was finding out the bus company I used had given up!

I decided I had to leave work straight away. I hadn’t heard from my daughter but the longer I left it the harder it would be to get home. My new phone hadn’t arrived (I’d arranged it to be delivered to work) so I was on my own.

That makes it sound overly dramatic but the second I left the office I was out of contact. No one could reach me and I couldn’t reach any one. As a single mother I found that unbelievably unnerving.

I slipped and stumbled my way through the city to the bus station. Before I’d left work I had phoned a different bus company to see if they were still running; they were, just very, very late. I arrived at the bus station to join a huge crowd of people looking a little lost.

After about 35 minutes a bus arrived that I could use. Unfortunately so could about 400 other people. It was actually pretty vicious; pushing and shoving, everyone scared there wouldn’t be enough room. I even had someone punch me in the ribs at one point but I wasn’t giving up my place in the queue.

When the bus was full we began the journey home but it was a very slow process. After half an hour we were only half a mile from the bus station. All the time I was watching the clock. It got to half three and I had no idea whether my daughter was home, at school or anywhere else.

I hate that feeling of helplessness. I’m her mum, I should be there, but because of the phone and the snow I was miles away with no way of sorting anything out.

It got to 5pm and I borrowed the phone from the person sitting next to me. My daughters phone was still switched off. I called the school and was told the bus to my village only left about half an hour ago. My daughter wasn’t in school so I had to assume she had got on the bus.

I finally got home at about 6pm, and sure enough my daughter was home already. We talked about the whole day and how messed up it was and it turned out one of her friends mums had brought her home in her car.

I was relieved she had got home safe but I’m angry at the school who obviously had no idea where my daughter was or who with. If anything had happened (and thank God it didn’t) nobody would have a clue where she was.

I’ve written a letter to the school urging them to pay a little more attention to where the pupils are. I know she’s 13 but when she’s in the schools care I expect them to know where she is.

When I get a reply I will post it in the comments.

The Rules

I know we have to have rules. The world would be in (even more) chaos if everybody did whatever they pleased whenever they chose. People would be hurt and a suffering would be commonplace. But what about those silly rules. You know, the ones that don’t really make sense. The ones where you can’t really work out the reasoning behind it. The ones where the only logical conclusion is that they are there to cause misery.

My daughter and I have come into contact with such a rule very recently.

The issue was her hair colour. The school think it’s inappropriate and wanted it dyed back to a ‘normal’ colour. Her hair had been dyed red since the start of term. Not a bright unnatural red, but more of a reddy-auburn that glowed more red in the sun. Apparently it’s not a naturally occurring colour so was against the school rules.

I could understand it if her hair had been a wild shade of green but as it was it looked more ‘natural’ than one of my daughters friends’ bright ginger hair!

Letters went back and forth between me and the school. We progressed to telephone calls. It culminated in my daughter spending a day in the Junction – an in-school exclusion.

The only solution was for me to dye her hair again.

It seems like a silly thing for me to worry about but my daughter’s hair defines her. She is confident with red hair. She is happy with red hair. She is known as ‘Red’ to several kids in others years. She is utterly distraught.

She settled on black and I dyed it last night. She hates it, much as I thought she would. She’s tried black hair before but it never fit her like the red did. She cried after I had finished and shut herself away, refusing to reply to any of her friends repeated messages and video chat requests.

I just don’t understand why it’s such a big deal to the school. She won’t learn any less because her hair was red. In fact knowing her, she’ll probably learn less now because she’s so gutted and annoyed at the school.

The kids are going through puberty. It’s a hard time for them all, trying to create their identities and find their place in the world. I don’t see what the school have to gain from stifling their personalities. I want my daughter to be her own person – to express herself in a way that’s right for her, not to be pushed into conforming to what everybody else expects.

I can only assume that the school like the kids to all look ‘uniform’ for when visitors come in. But surely it would be better for visitors to see classrooms full of happy pupils?