It happened. The day I never thought would. We said goodbye to the school that all our boys attended from age 4. Our youngest was graduating.
That is it! Raise the flag...We are free from school schedules and commitments. At last, we can have a life!
So why did I cry? At the graduation party, my husband was asked to give the speech on behalf of the parents. Quite an honour. Our family was mentioned several times throughout the evening and the legacy we left after 22 years. We had become a 'school family' with a good and honourable reputation.
When preparing his speech, we put our heads together; there was so much to say and so many people to thank. School graduation speeches can go on and on with nobody listening, so we wanted to keep it punchy.
Our main point of thankfulness was how the school, with its ethos of equal treatment, had manifested itself in the manner our children were treated, whether it be the Christmas tree at the school entrance on Christmas day, the suspensions for...well we won't go into it here, sports achievements and, of course, the dreaded biannual parent/teacher/pupil meetings (where we learned the naked truth!).
Even though our children had been a minuscule minority, they were not given any special favours; they had to earn them like everybody else. This was the highest honour they received...to be treated equally.
So we celebrated, thanked, sang, photographed, glowed (with pride) at the graduation like all the other parents we have known for years and years. From the headmasters, to the caretakers, to the security guards, to the teachers-we thanked them all for giving our children a wonderful school experience in the midst of conflict (several intifadas and wars). Looking back, it was as tough a challenge for them as much as for us.
Our children represented the 'enemy' but were treated well, fairly and professionally.
Is parenting over? Ha! Certainly not! But we leave this 'end of an era' and move to the next, satisfied that, in an imperfect world, the decision to send our children to an Israeli school (The Nisuee School or The Experimental School) was one 'out of the box' decision that went right.
Reflection: All people, and particularly children, should be treated equally.