Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SHE wanted, she said, to go to Coláiste Fiachra to start a new life.

She said that she was “sick and tired” of her own school and would start again somewhere else.

She even went as far as canvassing the idea on Twitter. She got very positive feedback, she said.

She said that sooo many of the students in Col Friachra said that they’d love her to join their clique.

“You are in your backside changing schools,” I told her when she told me.

She pleaded and pleaded but I remained unmoved. The lady was not for turning on this subject.

My 15-year-old daughter had secretly hatched plans to move schools after her junior cert and was so certain of the change that she didn’t bother to tell me about it. I found out by accident when one of her pals mentioned it.

But I knew why Fiachra’s seemed so attractive to her.

The kids there had an air of being alternative, different. They dressed how they wanted and listened to whatever music they felt like without any regard of what anyone else thought. Frankly, they didn’t give a damn about peer pressure. It seemed that the school was populated by more than 500 teenage individuals which, in itself, is a remarkable achievement.

I admired my daughter for wanting to make such a bold move. For making such a big decision. For knowing her own mind.

But really, it wouldn’t work. The new school was too far away and, either ways, she had a perfectly good school where she was. I remained unmoved on the subject. She was staying put.

It was hypocritical of me because it was precisely at Easter in third year that I made up my own mind about switching schools. The regimental boarding school of cosseted rich girls that I had spent three years in began to choke me and I had to get out. When I asked my mother, she had a freak attack.

“You’ll lose the run of yourself,” she told me. “You’ll fail your leaving cert and won’t get into college. You’ll refuse to go to Mass. You’ll become vegetarian. You’ll go wild.”

Her reasoning had absolutely no reasoning at all. But I wore her down and I won the battle. I came home to school and thrived there. (It was only years later that I lost the run of myself, went wild, stopped eating meat and forgot about going to Mass at 11o’clock on a Sunday. My poor mother’s head spun at how her best-behaved, most obedient daughter turned out.)

On Good Friday, I rang my young one on the way home from work.

“Hey, hon, will I get a nice bit of processed fish for your dinner?” I asked though the speaker phone.

“Chicken, I want chicken, please, ma,” the reply came.

“But it’s Good Friday,” I said.

“What difference does that make? Am I even a Christian?” my former altar-girl daughter asked back.

I almost crashed the car. This was the young girl who attended every Easter service with my mother; the girl who loved the ritual and performance of being on the altar, who, at the age of just eight, understood the awful sadness she saw at funerals and the happiness at weddings, who loved going to the church, no matter what the occasion.

“You’re asking ME if you’re a Christian?  Jaysus, last time I looked, you were,” I spluttered. “Why, what do you think you are?”

“Well, I see myself more of a Buddhist, really,” came the baffling reply.

My poor mother, her granny, must be spinning.

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