Front of the Queue

Sep 18 2011

The smell of fresh plimsolls, the sound of children risking serious injury, sprinting around a packed playground, the air of tension of parents sending their children off to school following a long and arduous summer; the first day of school is nerve-racking for anybody, especially for Camille who has missed so much in her short life to date.


I described in my last blog how significant an event the first day at school was going to be for us as a family, but even with this momentous build-up, it is easy to blink and miss the event no matter how hard you’re looking. We all woke up fairly early that morning, feasting on a nice breakfast (Milky Bar yoghurts for Camille); dressing in the very smart red uniform of the school and brushing hair and teeth with vigour and enough care to ensure a smart unruffled appearance. Camille was excited; in fact I’m not sure I have seen her more excited. It helped that Lucia was really looking forward to looking after her sister and couldn’t seem to understand, however much we told her, that Camille would not be in the same class as her as Lucia was making a step up to Miss Smith’s class.


At 8.30am we loaded up the car and set off on the mile journey to the village school that will forge our girl’s education for the next six years. It had worked out well for me as well; I had resigned from my job of seven years the week or two before and was now firmly on gardening leave (which should now be renamed as “catching up with little DIY jobs that have been neglected for too long” leave). This means that from the first day, all the way through the end of that week and the entirety of last week, I’ve been able to help Hayley out and see the girls off to school.


We arrived just before the gates to school were unlocked and as we stepped through into the playground, I was able to capture a few pictures of Camille holding Mummy’s hand, beaming from ear to ear with a smile that told a thousand stories. There wasn’t any clear apprehension presenting itself as Camille stood calmly with us waiting for the bell to ring and when it finally did sound, she was ready to stand right at the front of the line to lead the group into the classroom for the first time this year.


Hayley and I had asked the teachers to maybe hold her hand as she walked into school but there was little need as an independent and confident Camille strode forward wearing her new special boots and pristine uniform. We peered through the classroom window to see her reaction at entering the room; she was inquisitively looking around the classroom at all of the activities on show, I dragged Hayley away before we were spotted by her. We had no worries of Lucia going back after the holidays; she has an amazing character and most importantly loves the school.


I may have mentioned last time around that Camille was starting the school year part-time, going up until lunch each day. This worked out pretty well as she was shattered and has been shattered everyday since. She will be going in full-time in January which will hopefully give her enough time to settle in to the routine as well as summing up the energy to last that extra three hours. That first day, as the front door opened with Miss Wyndham, Camille’s teacher, chaperoning her off site; Camille stepped into a run, a proper run. Camille hasn’t been able to run since she was diagnosed, but the sight of Mummy was enough for her to properly gallop into her arms with pure joy and excitement. You have no idea how that felt for us, is this what school will do for her?


As I’ve mentioned, we’ve had a week and a half now and there is no sign of her enthusiasm waning.


The last couple of weeks have also seen our big girl turn six, how can that be possible. She has grown up so fast.


Last weekend, a Camille’s Appeal eleven challenged my home village’s cricket team to a forty over match for the charity. It was a blustery day and as the opposition took to the crease; we struggled to come to terms with the conditions, lack of practice and the keen eye of one or two of the batsmen. Things were looking good at drinks when we had them sitting on 120-6, but fatigue set in and they managed to bash a further 130 before we finally bowled them all out. A special note should go to Simon Ager who thumped 130 of the 250 runs.


It was time for Camille’s Appeal to bat and over by over the wickets fell. At one point we were 10 for 4. Our final wicket fell along with some pretty heavy rain capping off a thumping loss from the club. Next year we’ll have our revenge, oh yes, next year.


I’m contemplating going to bed early tonight as tomorrow is my first day at my new job for Microsoft. I’m very excited yet ever so slightly apprehensive.


Before I forget, please look on the homepage of the website for news of two Camille's Appeal events coming up; the Coffee Morning on the 20th October and the Christmas Ball on the 9th December. Hayley has already whipped up a couple of the recipes for the coffee morning and I am officially stuffed. Great work Mrs S! 


One last thing; big congratulations to my pals Tom and Charlotte who have just announced their pregnancy. Good on ya guys, see you in the maternity ward!