My daughter, adopted and traumatised, but nevertheless happy, fun, sociable and kind, until last year went to a small, cosy village primary with a ‘family feel’.
She had been best friends from the start with a little girl who I’ll call Ruby. They sat together, played together, ate lunch together. Great.
Then two years ago Ruby publicly handed out invitations to her birthday party. She gave them to all the girls in the class, with one exception, my daughter. My daughter was puzzled and kept saying ‘I’m sure I’ll get one soon, she accidently left mine at home’ and then ‘Ruby said she ran out of pens to write my invitation and her mum has to buy some more’. She was sad, stung and full of shame. She thought it was her fault. I was fucking livid.
We survived the episode and a few months later Ruby approached me in the playground and asked if she could come to our house to play after school. I swallowed down bile, approached the mother and it was arranged. ‘You’ll have to come to our house next’ the mother bleated as my daughter’s face lit up. No invitation ever materialised.
Fast forward another year, another birthday party and another repeat performance. Again, every other girl in the class was invited, even casual acquaintances. My daughter was left feeling bereft.
A few weeks later and a year ago now the daughter who never cries found a tear rolling down her cheek. I suggested we think about moving to a larger, local middle school, where there would be a greater choice of friends. She beamed, then jumped up and down with excitement and hasn’t looked back since.
Ruby’s parents are both involved in charity work – loudly and publicly. They are the sort of people who say ‘bless’ a lot. They are full of crap. Recently she tried to ‘friend’ me on Facebook. If there had been a ‘fuck off and die’ button I’d have used it. Ruby rings our number regularly and leaves many, many messages. Can I come to your house? Can I come today? Tomorrow? My daughter is so forgiving that she looks at me with an unbearable hope in her eyes.
Over my dead body.
These are the sort of people who think that ‘delinquent’ children should be locked up in borstals and drugged. Yes, that was one pleasant playground conversation. Charitable, my arse. I have no doubt that they judged my daughter to be a bad influence, someone who because of her beginnings wasn’t going to turn out well. The multiple acts of casual cruelty they inflicted caused terrible upset to someone who did nothing to deserve it. But do you know what?
Their lives are all the poorer for it.