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Pakchic Says: Sacrificing so My Daughter Can Have a Best Friend

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We live far from where we work. We work in the city and we live on the outskirts. But that’s what we can afford. It’s a trade-off between travel distance and a bit of space and solitude.

When Athena turned two years old, my wife and I decided to send her to play school because she’s a really active and playful girl and it seemed like she would be bored at home all day.

We did a little bit of research and settled for a school near where we work in the city. We liked the teachers, students and it also meant that it was easy for us to send her in the morning.

The only problem was the fact that one of us had to leave work in the middle of the day when her school ended to fetch her and send her home.

Did I mention we live far from work? So what that means is that either my wife and I will have to spend an extra two hours commuting every day.

This extra two hours is in addition to the one hour we take to travel to work in the morning and another hour back from work in the evening (this is with heavy traffic of course).

In the beginning, it was alright. We were excited to see Athena so happy going to school and making friends. And we thought it was worth the effort.

Then the second year of school came about. Exhaustion started to creep into our lives as the extra commute starting taking it’s toll on us.

We started entertaining the thought of changing Athena’s school to somewhere closer to home and where she can probably take the school’s transport back.

We weighed the pros and cons. Of course we still liked the teachers and the students. It is really a good school. And we liked how Athena was developing and enjoying herself.

But we also thought that we could find another school nearer to the house that would be just as good as the current one. And she’s young. She can adapt.

I had changed schools eight times due to my parents’ work that required a lot of moving around. And I turned out just fine!

Anyway, we just couldn’t take the commuting and the time wasted on the road anymore. We were just too pooped out tired at the end of each work day.

We started looking around for schools in our neighbourhood. There were some pretty bad ones, some okay ones, and some good ones. We had a decent list to choose from.

Then one day after school, my wife went to pick Athena up and she noticed something different about her. She had something on her that wasn’t put on by us.

“Athena. What’s that around your wrist?” my wife asked her.

“That’s a friendship band, mummy,” she said.

“Where did you get it? Did you make it in school?”

“No. My best friend Louisha from school gave it to me. Can I make her one too?”

That’s it. My wife and I have made our decision. We’re not taking her out of her school. She’ll stay there for now. We’re just going to have to live with the commute.

Zan Azlee is a multimedia journalist, writer and filmmaker. He specialises in solo-journalism and often reports from conflict zones around the world. He usually succeeds in staying safe and coming home unharmed to his daughter, Athena Azlee, and wife, Jasmine Abu Bakar, by screaming like a little girl whenever he is faced with danger. Follow his exploits at FatBidin.com.