My rare privilege

I have enjoyed a rare privilege over the last six years, and now it has come to an end.

My daughter has just completed her education at the school where I work. For the last six years I’ve been able to participate in her education in a way that is not afforded to most parents. I’ve shared a ride to work nearly every morning and many afternoons been there for the return journey too. I’ve been there to share the experience of school assemblies, camp experiences, sports days, house events, and even taught lessons where she has been a participant.

Like I said, it’s been a rare privilege. I know intimately the spaces she’s inhabited and we share memories of school life that we can fondly recall together in the years to come. I may even be able to return for her school reunions, because, after all, I’ll have a legitimate reason to be there too.

I thought her leaving would be easy, just another day, something that wouldn’t affect me all that much. But as I stood in their final Valedictory assembly last week, the opening words of the school song finally took on their true meaning and I found myself unable to sing, tears pouring down my cheeks.

They of the school before us

Now tread the wider ways

Their thoughts to her returning

Who ordered once their days

I suppose most parents feel the same about their children leaving school – it’s a rite of passage and denotes the end of a stage of your life. For me, it’s a little different. I think I’m going to spend the next year experiencing that strange series of ‘firsts’ at my place of work. First day travelling there without her, first event where she’s not a presence, and on and on.

I’m going to miss you Cassidy. I hope my rare privilege was something that you will reflect on warmly in years to come too.