1998 was my last year at Primary School and the holidays were coming up fast. The weather was warm, we’d finished all our placement tests so the teachers were giving out Christmas activities and letting us chat in class.
One particular day my teacher asked me to grab something he needed from the room next door that was with a bunch of paper work. I happily obliged but looking back now I sort of wish I hadn’t.
As I walked into the room and up to all the open folders on the desk, the first thing sitting right there on the top was an award – the citizenship award; given to one student a year who treated others with respect, kindness, helped out where needed, you know, all that fun stuff.
There, in big bold letters was my name.
Firstly, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t Dux of the school (similar to the American Valedictorian) – after all, I was President of the Student Council, won the Girl’s Athletics trophy (but I only found that out on award night) and was always receiving high marks in class. My name wouldn’t be forever immortalised on the wall in the school hall.
Secondly, I realised that what has been seen can never be unseen.
On award night, I sat around waiting nervously for them to announce the award. Clutching my right hand in my left (to make sure I remembered which hand to shake with) I listened as one teacher started to explain the citizenship award. My heart leapt up into my throat as I waited anxiously for them to just finish already and call my name.
Once they did, my parents next to me turned and smiled with their eyes wide as if I’d just won a million dollars. I had to fake a sort of surprised look on my face as people around me smiled along with my parents. I got a couple of pats on the back as I made my way up to the stage to claim my award.
Afterwards my parents asked me, “were you surprised?” and “isn’t that a great surprise!” and I had to nod my head with the knowledge that I’d known all along.
I really wished I hadn’t because it would have been such a nice surprise.
As a bit of a control freak I often forget that it’s nice to not know. Sometimes it’s worth not trying to make everything happen my way or know everything so I can plan accordingly. If I’d had more surprises than nervousness from knowing, perhaps I wouldn’t be in this mess.