And it was his first ever one. Bad brained mother here was just downright empty headed about it and flummoxed by the Medieval system of school security. Unable to process the arcane rituals of gate openings, I was stymied by the blockade and, being 5ft, unable to scale the walls, clutching daughter and the Phil and Teds. Here is how it begins.
I drop son off to the usual playgroup entrance. I access this through the left-hand school gate, Gate A, which is open for the 8.50 drop-off,(Otherwise closed for the 11.50 pick-up, open again at 3pm. Guarded by Cerebrus in the meantime) walk across the school grounds and say "See you at the Nativity!". I then walk into "town" (this is in speechmarks because really, 2 charity shops and a bakery do not make a town). I walk through the Town school gate,Gate B, open for the 8.50 drop-off, but closed for the 11.50 pick-up, open again at 3pm. Otherwise, guarded by Orcs and an all-seeing eye. Gate A saves me a long walk, as Gate C, near to the playgroup and open for the 11.50 pick-up and 3pm pick-up, otherwise closed and guarded by sundry demons, is a mile and half around the town away. So my walk to playgroup in the morning is 2.5 miles, on the way back it is 4 miles. The politics of the Gate are arcane and not open to reason. A friend with SPD and heavily pregnant was not allowed to spare herself the walk at the 11.50 pick up, and was forced to walk the 1.5 extra miles. The Gates cannot be opened. I walked her boy rather than see her struggle. The Gate protects the kids, it must not be breached. Mexico border controls are more lenient than this.
Anyway, I then return, after whiling away an hour in the library with daughter, to Gate C, for the 11.15 performance of Nativity, starring son as shepherd, and many varied carols that bear no relation to ones you might know. Gate C is locked. I ring friend, who is in hall. "Help! Gate C is locked! I can't fling my Phil and Teds over the fence! Can you get someone to open it?" No. Nobody will open it. I must run.
I do not run. Apart from a brief period in the early 90's, which was really all about snaring some unworthwhile bloke, when I went to the gym 3 times a week, I have never run. Never. I may jog, I may speed walk with a double buggy, but I do not run. Until now. Strapping a screaming daughter into the buggy "NOOOOOO! I want to WALKKKKKK!", I pound the pavements, swerving people on mobility buggies and cursing their wheels, run, run, until I reach Gate A, which is open, all the Orcs being inside watching the Nativity that I AM MISSING. I screech to a halt in the school reception and demand to be let into the hall. Obviously, I am bright purple, sweating, about to have a heart attack, and clutching a puce angry daughter. I look insane. The Head comes out as the scretary has evidently pressed the panic button. They let me in. As soon as daughter sees the stage and bright lights she exhibits her (thankfully present) anti-X-Factor genes and screams. We go out again. I find crumb sodden old dummy from last month in bottom of my bag, shove it in and return to see the last song being sung and son looking bored in a tea towel. All the other mums are looking at me. They all have cars. Son asks why I was late. "The Orcs were not at the gates", I tell him. And he just accepts it.
Later, I get the DVD. Sons head is obscured by Marys' voluminous headress throughout.