We're not a morning family. Our ride to school is generally quiet. We don't talk. Bart commandeers the radio as we make our 30 minute journey to the beat of drum and bass. There's no arguing or fighting. It really is quite peaceful apart from the thud of the radio.
We pass two lollipop people on the way. One elderly man and one elderly woman. The lollipop man always waves as we pass and the kids wave enthusiastically back. For some reason we call him Bob. He's wiry and small and his bike is always propped up against the lamppost. A further 10 minutes into the ride is the other lollipop person. The lollipop lady never waves back. She never smiles. She too, rests her bike against the lamppost. We call her Miserable Madge. The kids think that she maybe blind as she never sees them waving. I've tried to tell them that it would be impossible to have a blind lollipop lady, but they're not having any of it.
We've been doing the same journey for the past eight years, in the same car and not once has she returned our morning waves. Finn tells me to drive really slowly past her so that she can see that we're all waving. I've done this on many occasions but she either turns the other way when we pass, or her arm is hurting from all that waving she must do.
This morning as we got to the point where Bob usually stands corralling children across the busy road, the kids were disappointed to see that Bob was not there. In Bob's place was a much younger man. The new lolliop man waved back just as Bob would, but the kids were upset.
"Where's Bob?" asked Mimi
"Probably on holiday"
"It's not the same," said Finn "can you find out where he's gone, so we can drive past him?"
Further along the road we came upon Miserable Madge. The kids all raised their hands to execute the enthusiastic wave knowing that she wouldn't see them. And do you know what? For the first time ever, she actually waved back and....with the biggest smile I ever seen!
Bart looked at me. "Mum" he said "Things are changing...and I'm not sure I like it!"