One of my earliest memories took place while I was at primary school. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was very young. I could only have been in what is now reception or year one. While I can vividly remember the classroom it took place in, the main reason for it sticking in the memory was a supply teacher. My mum.
I was always a good boy at school. My behaviour was, as a rule, exemplary. There are, however, exceptions to every rule and this encounter was one of them. Conveniently, I can’t recall exactly what I did to be such a monumental pain in the arse on that day, but I remember how it made me feel. I was conscious of the fact I was being more than a little challenging. I also remember the way my mum looked at me and having a tantrum next to the drawer unit.
My problem, of course, was that I found it difficult to comprehend my mum being anything other than Mummy. I probably didn’t like the fact that she was talking to other children or that she spoke in a different way. Whatever the explanation and even though I had the mitigating circumstances of being very young, I put her through the mill that day. But, as they say, what goes around comes around!
Today, I found myself accompanying Xander on his first school trip. His class is learning about community, so they were visiting a nearby church. They needed parents to help out and, as it’s something I was unable to do when Dylan was in reception, I wanted to do my bit. I took it seriously too. Last week, we had a conversation about the trip and what different people believe.
This morning, I was worried that Xander was going to loudly tell everyone that I don’t believe in God and spark an existential debate. That should have been the least of my worries…
Understandably, it was a big deal for him so he was excited. He showed off to his friends a little as all kids do, but nothing too bad. He was fine on the way to church too. Once we were there, however, he upped it a notch. He seemed keen to wander off and was a little put out when I spoke to the other children I was responsible for. Sound familiar?
Then came the walk back to school. Xander wanted to come home with me. The news that I couldn’t allow that was a disappointment. He cried all the way back, shunning my attempts to talk him round and digging his heels into the pavement.
Remembering my aforementioned off day, I found it difficult to be cross with him. He clearly found it hard seeing me as Mr Briggs rather than Daddy. I understood why he was reacting as he was. Even though he reached a point where he revelled in it.
I knew it was an entirely normal reaction. I was also confident that the teachers and other parents weren’t judging me. We’ve all been there after all. Today was just my turn. That said, I was still mortified that my child was the only one acting up!
So no harm done, but it was stressful at the time. Why couldn’t he just have gone off on one about the big bang theory? Oh well. What goes around comes around. Eventually. I got my comeuppance in the end!
So there you go, Mum. You have been avenged. I apologise unreservedly for that day 30 odd years ago!