One Sunday last month, up popped the dreaded, nasty little square on our calendar with too much writing in it. My girl’s two most exciting days of the year had most cruelly, been timetabled concurrently. Rather than having full enjoyment of each (preferably different weekends), we had to split our day between the biennial school fair and the dance concert/ fun day.
The concert itself began at 2pm, so we had to start the day at school. First photobooth and treasure hunt checkpoint duty, then to the stage for junior choir. After that, we could breathe a bit. I let my Little Miss wander with friends while I finally got a look around. Hello cake stall! Perfect treat for the dance concert after-party table: super cute watermelon biscuits!
At time to leave, my girl was nowhere to be found. When she was found, refused to go.
“But I haven’t been on the rides! All my friends are here! It’s NOT faiiiiiiirrrrrr!” (No, it really wasn’t.)
I’d seen this coming. I coerced, convinced and did my calm best to get her out and home for costume change and snack en route to the theatre.
Outside the school gates, a group of anti-Liberal activists approached, collecting signatures against cuts to education. Oh my. Now? For that cause, (as with the firies and ambos the week before) I was prepared to scribble on a clipboard. Only the plot quickly thickened…
“Did you know we’re losing Reading Recovery at school and literacy is being deprioritised as… (leans in and says under breath) oh look, here’s the local representative for the Napthine government responsible for this education disaster..”
I looked left, right, saw no one. And that is because she was standing so close behind me I turned and got a fright as off she went:
“Are you aware we are giving $3.5 million to upgrade your school? Are you aware I am replacing all the chickens that died in the recent storms…?”
“Uh… yes… I read it in the newsletter…” I stop to catch my breath, caught between two sides of play. Then it occurs: when else will I get such a stellar chance to air my views? I am a confrontation avoider but this one is my barrow- so for my kid, and those like him, I will push it, blast it…
“Yes!” I say, “Yes I AM aware you are giving money to the school… to upgrade buildings. As a parent of an additional needs child for whom I have long fought and who’s struggled just to keep up with peers, I do wonder why it’s so important to invest in real estate not long after Rudd’s capital injection, when kids like mine fall between the cracks of mainstream and special school, a very large crack indeed…”
(The protesters rally around the sidelines, with popcorn.)
“Oh,” says the MP, “but that is a federal issue…”
“Is it? Is it?” I push back, “Oh I’m well aware there are health support packages families can’t always access providers for… but isn’t it the Victorian department of education that changed criteria to render most additional-needs students now ineligible for school support? In the very place they need to be every day to learn? My son’s school funding was cut by secondary level, no one wanted to know about his needs, which didn’t just stop. He struggled, there was bullying and now, thankfully he’s safely in a small independent school which we will afford, despite my having to stay home which was never our plan. How about we invest less in property, more in people and productive futures??”
INHALE. EXHALE. CROWD MURMURS. PREGNANT PAUSE. KID STILL FUSSING, PULLING MY ARM.
“I’d love to talk to you some more about this in my office…” she smiles a hard smile, hands me a card, shuffles back on her crutches as the table of clipboarders quietly mumble my supportive asides.
And that Ladies and Gentlemen, is the sign you have smacked down a politician. As I left I heard her continue to have words with the protesters about their conduct. She also, was not having a great day!
Driving home we had an extreme near-miss (F***ck!) as some lunatic in a 4WD with bullbar nearly collected us from a side street, then at a loss, shook his fist for good measure. More fools. We took a breath, pushed on, got Dad, made it to the theatre: the performance went fine despite the fact I’d forgotten the bless-ed ballet shoes, and I can tell you- that tiny cup of pink champagne at the cake table afterward? WENT DOWN A BLOOMING TREAT. Too much adrenalin for one day.
To round off: this week I hear our local member has surrendered her perch (just like her boss, our outgoing Premier). Oh well.
Have you ever given a pollie or rep what for? How did it go down?
Have you ever had two big do’s on at once? How did it go down?
Ever forgotten your dance shoes, had a half cup of pink champagne? How did it go down?