Here I am, This is Me

I went to school yesterday afternoon to watch their Easter Bonnet Parade for the Seniors and Sixth Form and I did not stop smiling throughout the performance. Pupils with creative parents had made and decorated Easter Bonnets and the pupils had a catwalk set up in the hall, with pupils on one side and parents on the other, which they would walk down, on a class by class basis, to show off their creations. Making hats is not in my skill set and so we have struggled in previous years and now an adult in 6th form, I felt that Joshua had a legitimate reason to opt out, yet he was in the audience, across the hall from me and he clearly enjoyed the show and was lapping up attention from two teaching assistants.

This year the parade had a circus theme and everything was performed to music from ‘The Greatest Showman’, so they opened the show with a performance to a Million Dreams, which set the tone. Then starting with the youngest, each class had the limelight and the catwalk began; the swagger and attitude with which many of the pupils showed off their bonnets was brilliant and heartwarming. They were clearly loving the rare opportunity to be centre -stage and some were very reluctant to make way for their classmates. Each child was cheered and received a round of applause, and it was obvious from the support from the crowd and the photography where their family were sitting. There were three judges who were deciding on a class winner, who was awarded an Easter egg at the end of the show, and although the children gained reward enough from the catwalk in most cases, there was clearly an element of competition amongst the more creative parents, as there was honour in making the best bonnet – festooned in eggs, feathers and flowers.

When it came to sixth form’s turn to parade, I watched the TAs try to persuade Joshua to take part, with a bonnet that they had made in class to fit over his epilepsy helmet. I knew that this would not be his idea of fun and so I watched from across the hall as he resisted standing up and then walking to the front, he kept trying to sit down in protest. They succeeded in getting the very reluctant model to the front, but then he simply hugged the TAs and showed no interest in the catwalk that his peers were walking down. In many areas like this, Joshua has always preferred to be an observer than a participant , which is surprising¬† as he is often a show off,but he sat back down again. I was content that he was there in the audience to enjoy the performance and the music.

After the catwalk, a new school video was played set to the song ‘This is Me’, also taken from The Greatest Showman and it was very emotional to watch. It showed staff and pupils around the school and was beautifully shot, celebrating difference across the school. I cried, of course, but I was also smiling and I need to see it several more times to take it all in as there was so much going on. The whole event showed the school off well, it was well organised and provided every pupil, who wanted it, with an opportunity to show off to an audience and to lap up the attention and adoration, so it was real ‘feel good’ event and I will certainly make the effort to attend again next year.

Happy Anniversary

23 years ago today, my husband and I got married and we had a brilliant day. I can remember beaming all day as everytime I looked around, there was someone that I cared about, wishing us well and that I did not want it to end.  It was a beautiful, sunny autumnal day and everything went to plan on the day, then we had three glorious weeks in the Florida Keys. We were both younger, and slimmer, then and we had no idea what life had in store for us. We were together for 6 years as a married couple before Joshua arrived on the scene, to change our lives forever. Those two people in the 30s who made those vows 23 years ago, had no inkling how much their relationship was going to be tested years later.

I look back at our wedding photograph album every year and love to see the smiling faces. Sadly too many important men in those photographs are no longer here with us : my dad, my husband’s grandad and father and my boss. But they were all a big part of my memories of our special day : My Dad turned me down flat when I suggested that we had a small drink to steady our nerves before we got into the wedding car. He introduced the DJ at the reception as a ” man who plays records for dancing” and both of those memories now make me smile and I remember my father very fondly.

We were married on my niece’s second birthday and so today we are having a family party to celebrate, rather unbelievably, her 25th birthday. Both anniversaries are indicators of the passage of time and show us how much life changes. Joshua was not even a twinkle on 14th of October 1995, and now here he is, a tall and handsome teenager who makes his presence felt every day.

So let’s look forward to the next 23 years together, it is hard to think that they can possibly hold as many surprises as the first 23!