I have to apologise to my daughter, for making the same mistake three times in her short life.
My beautiful baby girl is 28 months old, It is her I have to apologise to, not once, but three times. Three times I made the same mistake. It is only now that I realise I owe her a huge apology.
My First Apology
When my daughter was four months old, the school I was working in had an Ofsted visit. For those of you who are not familiar with the process. This is the process where schools are checked by the government and graded. As Deputy Head of the school, the large majority of the three days fell on my shoulders.
The school was located an hour from my house. The day started at 7 am and finished at 7 pm. For three days, I kissed my baby whilst she was asleep but was completely absent from her life. It was only three days, yet in her small life, it must have been a lifetime. Although I wasn’t expected to, I worked the hours I did over that period. I did it because the Head Teacher was one of my closest friends.
I was torn between the love for my daughter and my loyalty to my friend. I reasoned with myself that it would be fine, she was young, she wouldn’t even remember it when she was older. She may not, but it doesn’t make me feel any better, I am sorry little lady.
My Second Apology
When she was sixteen months old, the same thing happened again. This time I had moved to a new school. The Head Teacher I had worked for in the first instance, set up her school. I went with her as Deputy Head. New school, same scenario, loyalty to a friend or time with my family.
When a new school opens, you have an initial Ofsted visit to register and open the school. Four days before Christmas we got the phone call to say the visit was going to happen. Once again I had to kiss my daughter goodbye and then not see her until the next day.
Still, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I was supporting a friend to reach her dream. I supported her to gain a school of her own. We passed the Ofsted inspection with ease, the school was registered and we were on our way. I am sorry, little lady.
My Third Apology
When she was two-years-old, you guessed it once again Ofsted came knocking. This time for our first inspection, since opening a new school. Another three days, missing from my daughter’s life. Again putting her second to my friend’s school. At the time she was struggling with her speech and we were seeing early stages of ASD.
I went missing at the time she needed me most in her life. The inspection went very well and along with the excellent team, we gained a good across the board. I had supported my close friend to open a school, gain good in Ofsted and achieve her dream. The good news was, that they would not be back for another inspection for 3–4 years.
I am sorry, little lady, but it was worth it. I was building the foundation for a better life. I had established a good new school, which I would work at for years to come. Or would I?
The Reason I Should Apologise
Many will sit there and say I have nothing to apologise for. It was my job, I was helping out a friend and preparing the foundations for a better life.
At the time this was what I thought and it was my justification for leaving her. I owe her such a big apology because I was wrong, very wrong.
Last month, when I became ill. The friend I had worked so hard to support through her dream of opening a school, could not have been quicker to drop me.
My ill health did make me less productive at work. This is the first time I have ever been ill, in 25 years of work. Yet, I needed time to repair and recover and then I would have been okay. Instead of doing that this ‘friend’ made it impossible for me to stay at the school. I had no choice, but to resign my position and leave the job I had worked so hard on.
So, my little lady, I am so terribly sorry that I put you second for someone who didn’t deserve my loyalty. I am so sorry I missed almost a week of your life to build a school which wasn’t important. I’m so sorry I can’t get that time back with you. I promise though that I will spend the rest of your life making it up to you. I will also never forget the lesson that I have been taught. I will never put you second to anything or anyone again.