My life sometimes resembles an episode of the cartoon my son loves so much, “Nina needs to go.” In it, little Nina decides she needs to go at the most inopportune moments, when a toilet is far from accessible, much to the dismay of her long-suffering parents.
Yesterday afternoon, my son had a scholarship presentation event to attend at schoo,l and like the responsible mum that I am, I took time off work, arrived at the school really early to freshen him up, make sure he uses the toilet and change his shirt (I knew it would be unpresentable by that time of the day).
He was a bit nervous about going onto the stage but he obediently followed the long line of scholars into the auditorium. Once all the teachers, parents and scholars were seated, the ceremony was underway with three sets of presentations for the all-rounder, music and finally academic scholarships respectively with a musical interlude between each set.
During the second set of presentations, I was sitting in my very good seat in the second row, armed with my camera when I noticed my son stand up with very pained expression on his face. He looked at me and shouted,
“Mummy I need to go, I can’t hold it any longer!” (All eyes turned towards the offending mother, ME!!)
Assessing the situation very quickly and knowing how prone he is to expressing his disapproval very strongly, I jumped out of my seat, and made my way down the row, pushing past a line of reluctantly shifting knees and feet. By the time I got to him, I could almost see the tears that were going to stream down his face and I imagined the rim of the puddle on the new red carpet of the auditorium.
In my mad panic and embarrassment, I grabbed his hand and ran up the stairs to the black curtain that I imagined would magically reveal a toilet. I tugged at the curtains and my son did a few tugs of his own but alas the black curtain revealed a stark white wall. I looked around in blind panic and then the kind man who was supervising the sound for the event in his little black room advised me, very slowly and loudly in a tone reserved for the very feeble,
“Go…. DOWN… the…. stairs… and… out the door that you CAME in and you will find the toilets on the right hand side!
What a clever man, why didn’t I think of that?!?
Knowing where I was going now, I proceeded to the exit of the auditorium and raced him to the toilet to where he insisted on washing his hands twice saying , “Mummy, I haven’t washed them properly yet,” (yes, yes, yes you are supposed to wash both sides of your hand but today, RIGHT NOW could you just be very very very quick). After he had dried them properly and I fought the urge to pick him up and run back to the auditorium before he missed his name being called out, we ran back,, to find with relief that the second musical interlude was in progress. The academic scholarships hadn’t been called yet!! Thank the Lord!!
I pushed past the row of people again, my legs bumping 12 sets of knees as I apologised profusely for the inconvenience.
The final set of presentations started just then and I had just enough time to ready my camera before my son walked across the stage to receive his certificate.
A very very proud mum took picture after picture trying to capture that precious slice of his life and make it eternal!!