The End of an Era, Chinese Takeaways and an Unamused Driver

Daughter leaving Year Six and soon to be heading to senior school.

About fifteen years ago, my wife and I arrived at a Friday evening after a long week of work and decided to celebrate. Can’t remember the exact reason but I’m pretty sure it was for something epic like work getting a fresh supply of staples or the day being a bring your favourite highlighter to work day.

Anyway, we opted for Chinese takeaway and both being office dwellers and having forgotten how to use our legs, we ended up driving the three minute drive to pick it up. 

My wife was driving and we parked along the road beside the takeaway. I hopped out, went in, paid and swaggered out brandishing the food like I’d actually been out hunting for it myself. 

Then I got back to the car, swung the door open, clambered inside and gave my wife a toothy smile of triumph and mouth watering anticipation. 

Except the woman staring back at me wasn’t my wife. 

It was another lady. Another lady who had parked in front of us in the time it had taken me to go in and return. A lady with a very unamused expression on her face, who simply said:

“Wrong car.”

I remember the shock. The feeling of looking like a right moron. And unable to think of anything witty to say at the time, I jibbered out “So it is.” before making the hastiest of exits.

I looked to the car behind and through the window and could see my wife wheezing with laughter and clutching the steering wheel to keep her upright. It was safe to say that doozie was coming up at the next family gathering. 

Despite being something that happened to me many years ago, that moment has stayed with me ever since with vivid detail.

In all of our lives there will always be moments and events, good or bad, those that hold a place in our memories for years to follow, maybe forever. 

My eldest daughter has just had one of those moments, arriving home from primary school having finished her last day of Year Six. For her, an event so intense, I’m pretty sure it’ll become a firm memory. Let’s just say there were tears. And lots of them. 

This was her last day of primary school. The last day having spent seven years of her life there learning, forming friendships, growing. 

Over that time, she’s achieved a lot. Aside from learning to read and write, she’s been an anti-bullying ambassador and vice captain of her school year. She’s grown into a talented actress. When the school was forming a press team she jumped at the chance. And when the opportunity came up to be voted a school councillor, she presented her case and got voted in.

But now it’s time for the next step. 

In a quick Summer’s time, she’ll be expected to suit up in her new school blazer, sharpen up some new pencils and head off to big school. 

Naturally, she’s nervous. 

The school that has been such a big part of her life (over half her life, in fact) has now said its goodbye and waved her off. 

They had a party to celebrate their time. And although their parents were there this time to limit the carnage factor, unlike my daughter’s birthday party (which was as mad as a Table Licking competition), it was the perfect send off. 

The kids were all there, the teachers too. There were glittering face tattoos, musical props, comedy big glasses and Hawaiian floral necklaces. The teachers were dancing with the kids and parents alike. Teachers initiated Conga lines which snaked around the corner and pictures were taken with a Class of ‘22 sign. 

I reckon this’ll be one of those events that’ll stay with my girl. One of those moments I mentioned at the top, ingrained in the memory. 

But now it’s time to push on. More learning, new friendships, more growth. Time to make new memories. 

In fact, sod it… let’s all make some new memories! I might even start with another trip to the Chinese takeaway. 

And maybe this time I’ll get into the right car.

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