Today Maxi Minx’s school had a skip-a-thon. All the kids were given sponsor-sheets for a very worthy cause (British Heart Foundation) and most of the parents went “?!” For the last week, parents have been quietly asking each other if they’ve filled in The Form. Stories abound of one parent who delivered a vast sum to school before the skip-a-thon. No-one wants their child to be the only one not to hand in a form (ooo, the shame!) But on the other hand, there’s been a lot of grumbling…
“What happened to the good old days of sponsorship?” was a common wail, “When it was a bit of a gamble? When you’d no idea how many reps or miles the sponsored person was going to do, so you might not pay much, or they might pull it out the bag and you’d be skint?” Nowadays it seems that when you sponsor someone to do something, you just ‘sponsor’ them for an amount. Call me old-fashioned if you must, but isn’t that a ‘donation’? The sponsorship form helpfully suggests that the children ask their sponsors for the money as soon as they fill in the form, in advance of the skip-a-thon. Eh? But what if they kid doesn’t do any skipping? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of sponsoring? The whole point is that the sponsor agrees to hand over cash in return for the sponsored person *doing something*. If you just hand it over in advance, it’s a do-na-tion!! Ngggah! The cynic in me wonders why the forms are called sponsorship forms at all. I guess ‘donation’ and ‘sponsorship money’ are dealt with differently when it comes to tax. Grumble, grumble…
Anyway, all this was irrelevant to me. Money’s tight this month, all 3 minxes need shoes (and 2/3 of them have such wide feet that only the mega-super-expensive range that never, ever go on sale at Clarks will fit – gulp), I donate *things* to the school when I can, and have long-standing direct debits to my pet charities. I don’t have capacity for another just now, no matter how worthy (and BHF really are an excellent charity). So I was… well, not ‘happy’, but comfortably resigned to not filling in the donation form for Maxi Minx. Instead, I assuaged my conscience by trying to get Mini to nap in her buggy (ha!) so I could spend the whole afternoon at the playground to show my support of all the kids by watching and cheering their skipping display.
Well, watching primary school kids skip and trip to a soundtrack of Abba and The Bluebells isn’t my idea of a rocking afternoon. But you know what? It was lovely! Shiny innocent wee faces beaming with pride at showing off their new skills. The entire school, including the nursery kids, watched The Chosen Few perform. Even Midi Minx sat and watched attentively. Well, she did after she’d waved ‘coo-ee!’ at me and yelled, “Look, there’s Maxi!” at her big sister in the audience as she filed past. Who blew her a kiss in return. Awwww! I absolutely love it when the minxes are affectionate to each other.
After the display, all the kids had some fun skipping around different skipping stations in the playground. I couldn’t face marching up the hill for the 4th time that day, so hung around. Maxi is a bit of a klutz at skipping, though she’s been trying very hard to learn. So I waved and put on the exaggerated ‘Oh My Word, You Clever Girl, What Did You Just Do?’ face so she could see my support for her from across the playground, as she skipped over a rope. One of the staff persuaded her to try the big rope, with 2 girls on the end and Maxi in the middle. After a false start, she skipped. And skipped. And skipped! The beaming surprise and joy lighting up her beautiful little face made me cry. In public. For an encore, she jumped the same rope, but spinning round in a circle.
But the other side of Maxi soon returned – she tripped over a rope, grazed her knee, and the hystrionics made you think she had bone sticking out her skin. The pout was visible from 100 metres and every person in the playground had the graze thrust under their noses to examine.
After the skipathon, and the kids were entrusted back to our care again, I made a big fuss of Maxi and how well she’d skipped. Inspired, I asked if I could borrow her rope. Not wanting to be the target for local gossip yet again (Fat Middle Aged Mum Falls in Playground Making a Twit of Herself), I took off to a quiet corner. I discovered that after a 30 year hiatus, I can still skip, but have forgotten how to do ‘double’ skips.
On a roll, I let Mini amuse herself for a bit while I played with the usually overly-serious Maxi. I got her to stand right in front of me and just jump. I matched her jumping rhythm. So there we were, pogo-ing in the playground, hip to shoulder, sniggering at each other, breathless and smiling like loons. Then I started swinging the rope round us both. We skipped! Giggling face to face with my little girl in the early spring sunshine, as amazed and exhilarated at our joint prowess at skipping as she was – just priceless! One of those little moments that engraves itself on your heart till you die.