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Awards and Smelly Halls

In the middle of the morning craziness a text message interrupted my porridge…


It told me that I was invited to attend my son’s school the next day for ‘Golden Assembly’. Apparently, Adlai was in line for an award. This was a big deal. I’d heard of ‘Golden Assembly’ and I understood that in the eyes of a 5-year-old it was an award ceremony to rival the Oscars.

Faith too, had received the texted invite, which was a relief as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to take a ‘plus one’. Apparently, the winners of the awards are kept secret from the students before the assembly and in my uncontrollable pride I almost let the cat out the bag. However, I think Adlai just thought I was being even weirder than normal and didn’t pick up it when I told him I would see him at school later.

I cleared my work schedule and at 2:45pm Faith and I queued with the other parents waiting to be let in. Security was tight and we weren’t let into the arena (school hall) until minutes before the proceedings began. When the doors opened I was well positioned to get a front row seat. The seats were small and the hall became increasingly uncomfortable (and strangely smelly) as the teachers called out various pupils who’d won awards for various things.

Then the moment came. The one everybody had been waiting for. The coveted ‘Progress Award for the Caterpillar Class’…it was Adlai – or, as the headteacher called him, “Aldi”. The mispronunciation was immediately corrected by twenty-five 5-year-olds and my little son stood up and walked to the front smiling shyly. When I saw him standing in his uniform holding his certificate, my pride reached a crescendo and I was transfixed and humbled by how awesome he’s already become. I know it’s only a little school award and I’d really be proud of him no matter what…but this little school award, in a hall that smells like farts, reminded me again that this adventure of being his Dad has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.

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