On a cold Wednesday morning.
I was sent to the headmaster’s office.
At a school that Izobel might move to when she finishes nursery later this year.
The last time this happened.
I thought to myself.
As I clip-clopped down a brightly lit and unusually narrow corridor.
I was twatted on the arse with a slipper.
(I was 14.
It wasn’t my fault.
It was the others.
But I got twatted anyway).
When I met the headmaster last Wednesday morning.
He was much smaller than me.
So if he started any of that slipper shite this time.
I’d have him.
I remember focusing on the headmaster’s last name.
More than his first name.
And when I spoke to him.
I did actually call him Mr. Whateverhisnnamewas.
Because that’s what you do with headmasters.
No matter how old you are.
There was a presentation.
In a too small room.
Containing too many people.
To my left, there was a gymnasium.
Four year olds bounced up and down like kangaroos.
Then wriggled like snakes.
Then hopped like rabbits on their haunches.
I smiled at the innocence.
And the safety.
And it did feel safe.
That was what mattered most to me on last week’s cold Wednesday morning.
And any morning, actually.
Then, I glanced to my right.
To the only thing that furnished any wall in this small, dimly lit room.
A colourful tapestry.
And I focused on the first three words I saw.
The words were:
Vegans, Muslims and Lesbians.
In my lifetime.
A bit like an episode of Blankety Blank.
There have been periods where perhaps the most popular word to prefix with any of these three words.
I smiled as this thought entered my head.
And I closed my eyes in the half-light.
I smiled as I realised that this is the school that.
If I chose it.
Would help my four year old daughter.
To understand in probably as much detail as she dug for.
What it felt like to be a bouncy kangaroo.
Or a wriggly snake.
Or a hopping rabbit.
Or a Vegan.
Or a Lesbian.
I have faced many tests in schools, colleges and universities.
Some I passed.
Some I failed.
But none was ever as poignant as the test I faced on a cold Wednesday morning last week.
A test of whether I wanted my four year old to be indulged and indeed encouraged to imagine and explore the feelings of kangaroos, snakes, rabbits, vegans, Muslims and lesbians.
The test was a poignant one.
But rather an easy one, too.
And I passed.
Izobel starts there in September.