Monday, 15 June 2009

School daze

The Greek primary school term came to an end today, leaving 6-to-12 year olds across the country bubbling with excitement at the prospect of THREE WHOLE MONTHS with no homework, no tests and endless sunny days to play with their friends.

For my son, it marks the end of an era. The class of schoolmates he has spent the last six years with have seen their last days together. And, as the Class of '09 has been especially tight-knit, the end of the year brought some bitter-sweet emotions to the fore.

Over the past six years we have had broken limbs, broken promises, a couple of broken hearts that healed amazingly quickly, a few run-ins with a teacher who made no secret of the fact she couldn't stand kids, a classmate hovering between life and death (thankfully, two years later, he's made a full recovery) - and a smidge of learning too.

Our little darlings first met as mere six-year-olds, children in every sense of the word. Now, they are teetering on the precipice of puberty and this summer may be the last time they will enjoy life truly unfettered and uncomplicated as only children can.

It's not just the kids that have become close, but the parents too. So when we learned that, for the first time, there would be no full-day fun-filled excursion to the seaside for the leaving classes, we decided that we would arrange one ourselves.
Or rather Agni did.
There's an Agni in every group - the one with the magical combination of enough freedom from wage slavery, energy, willingness, organisational skills, drive, forceful nature and sheer chutzpah to get things done. All we had to do was say "Count us in" and cough up our share once Agni told us what had been arranged.

So, yesterday, bright and early (unreasonably early for a Sunday morning), we joined sixteen kids, six adults, some diving masks, a couple of fishing nets, a selection of clean designer swimsuits and gallons of sunscreen at the bus stop where the coach was waiting patiently for us. And we waited, and then we waited some more. We probably would have waited another hour or more if Agni hadn't pulled out her mobile phone and put a fire under the heels of the missing adult and two children on her list.
Five minutes later, they arrived in a fluster of half-packed beach bags and apologies.

By the end of the day, we still had the same number of kids and adults (thank God!) but we had acquired a collection of sea and pool-water soaked clothes, half a beach's worth of fine gravel, at least one case of mild sun stroke, several scarlet shoulders and noses, a coupla of tantrums, and a bus load of over-stimulated 12-year-olds who had not stopped for a second for six hours since we arrived at the resort.
Happy, but utterly shattered (and that was just the parents).

Come September, they'll be plunged into the abyss of Junior High. And from what I've been told, within a couple of months they will have left behind the sheer joy of being a kid and immersed themselves in the murky, antisocial waters of adolescence.

From our side, we are frantically making copies of photo CDs immortalising their last day together in the vague (and vain?) hope that they won't completely forget what a truly wonderful thing it is simply to be a kid.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post...You brought back such fond memories of my carefree summers!